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BBNBA: Sooooooo. Now what?

(Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Good morning, folks. The players have gone on strike. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.

RECAP

So Wednesday was quite interesting, to say the least. Rumors began circulating earlier this week that some players were questioning whether or not to finish out the postseason in the Orlando Bubble following the senseless shooting of a Black man named Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The incident was an ugly reminder that not much has changed in society since the NBA elected to finish up the 2019-20 season a few months ago, despite the player’s efforts to promote change from within the restricted Bubble environment. On Tuesday, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet was the first player to openly suggest going on strike for his team’s opening game against the Boston Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Wednesday afternoon, those rumors became reality with the snap of a finger. The Milwaukee Bucks were scheduled to play Game 5 of the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Orlando Magic, where the latter leads 3-1. But just minutes before tip-off, the Bucks were still not on the court going through a regular shootaround. Then the big news hit: the Bucks were going on strike for Game 5 in an effort to bring more attention to what happened in Kenosha, a city located roughly 45 minutes away from Milwaukee. From there, the dominos quickly began to fall. Within the next two hours, it was announced that the two games set for later in the evening, Rockets-Thunder and Lakers-Trail Blazers, would be postponed, leaving the remainder of the postseason up in the air.

More news began to leak as we entered Wednesday night. Players and coaches called together a meeting around 8 p.m. where the situation reportedly got a bit “ugly” with the overall topic of conversation being whether or not the season should continue. According to multiple reports, the two teams from Los Angeles, the Clippers and Lakers, were the two organizations that voted against finishing out the season. That isn’t to say that they’ll be leaving the Bubble, but that they at least want to put pressure on the NBA’s governors to do more as they’re the people with the most political power within the league to force a societal change. LeBron James has reportedly been at the forefront of that movement, suggesting that the governors haven’t done nearly enough to help influence change. Along with LeBron, Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard was also supportive of closing the Bubble and going home. When two of the biggest stars in the sport are this vocal, their voices carry an intense amount of weight.

The NBA’s governors are expected to hold a meeting on Thursday at 11 a.m., coinciding with another player’s meeting that will take place at the same time.

About two hours after the scheduled tipoff, the entire Bucks team made a statement to the media, addressing its reasoning for the strike and what they expect going forward. Here is what George Hill and Sterling Brown had to say as the team’s representatives (it should be noted that Brown was the victim of racial profiling by Milwaukee police back in 2018).

“The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings.

“Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we’ve seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protestors. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.

“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.

“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”

There was reportedly tension within the meeting that was held later in the day, as some of the players claimed that the Bucks essentially catching the rest of the league off guard. The Magic were not given any prior notice and were on the floor warming up 15 minutes before the scheduled tip-off. Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown reportedly spoke up and said that the Bucks did not need to justify why they went on strike and that he fully supported the decision.

Inside the NBA commentator, Kenny Smith, who is a former player, showed his support by addressing the situation on live television and walking off the set after speaking some powerful words.

At the moment, there is momentum to not play the three playoff games scheduled for Thursday. The WNBA also canceled all three of its games on Wednesday and there is talk that they could follow in the path of the NBA’s decision, whatever that ends up being. The video below of WNBA players wearing t-shirts with seven bullet holes in the back gave me chills up and down my entire body.

But this movement hasn’t been restricted to just basketball; five out of six Major League Soccer games were postponed on Wednesday in protest while three Major League Baseball games also met the same fate. Tennis star Naomi Osaka also announced that she would not play in the Western & Southern Open semifinal that is scheduled for Thursday.

This is a historic moment in American history, one that could–and hopefully will–lead to actual, visible change. Kneeling for the anthem and reiterating the phrase “Black Lives Matter” can only go so far, particularly in a confined Bubble. But an entire league going on strike, with other major sports league joining in, is how you force the hand of the people in charge. Today’s meetings at 11 a.m. will give us all a better idea of where the Bubble goes from here; do they finish out the playoffs or go home? Personally, I will fully support whatever decision the players come to. Change does not happen with silence. The NBA has brought me immense joy over the last three-to-four weeks, but I am even prouder that the individuals I cover on a daily basis are willing to put it all on the line to stand up for what they believe is right.

Isn’t that what we should all want, anyways?

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

49 Comments for BBNBA: Sooooooo. Now what?



  1. VilleCat11
    10:06 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    It’s amazing how so many people overlook what people do that gets them in these bad situations… Let’s try something different and do what you are told, that may actually prevent these situations from escalating to this point… We cannot just excuse one sides behavior to fit an ever growing narrative…



    • PensacolaCat
      12:25 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Stop trying to be reasonable.



  2. krazzy
    10:07 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Senseless shooting? Sex offender with a knife resists arrest and is shot by the police! Why is that a problem?



    • 270cat
      11:47 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah, I’d expect to get shot too if I had a warrant out for my arrest and fought multiple cops. They at least tried to tase him first. Why weren’t players boycotting during the last administration? There were just as many black people shot by cops then as there are now. Every adult should know that if you’re wanted and you resist and fight cops, something bad is going to happen.



  3. Rise
    10:07 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Lol.. senseless. Facts must be optional for you guys. If people would stop putting themselves in these situations they wouldn’t get shot. All these “shootings” could have been prevented if they just complied and stopped resisting arrest. It’s that simple.



    • Nolecat21
      10:33 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Some perspective/facts/stats

      800,000 police in the US
      4 million blacks in the US

      2019
      48 police were killed in duty/non traffic related
      That’s .0006% of law enforcement

      235 blacks were killed
      That’s .00000534% of black population

      2015
      42 police were killed in duty/non traffic related
      That’s .0000525% of law enforcement

      258 blacks were killed
      That’s .00000586% of black

      I chose last year under Obama vs last full year under Trump.
      Strange how similar the numbers are, yet this wasn’t a big deal under Obama. Higher rate of police officers killed in the line of duty than blacks killed by police in both instances.



  4. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    10:17 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Two questions:
    1) How many of youout there can just walk off the job and keep it? Would Matt allow his whole radio crew walk out right after going on the air this morning? How about the website crew? What if they all just decided they weren’t working today?
    2) What does Kenny Smith walking off set and players boycotting their games substantively accomplish? I said substantively. Don’t bring up “Raising awareness”. Awareness has been raised, and raised, and raised. Are they actually doing something substantive to change the situation while they’re enjoying their…”time off”?

    Okay, that turned into way more than 2 questions, but oh well…



    • Bluebird
      12:53 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      1) Who cares?

      2) Well, first, it raises MORE awareness. That’s not nothing when the media is always happy to move on to the next thing. Notice how much less coverage the still ongoing protests have gotten in the last few weeks? This brings eyes back.

      But second, more important, is that this will cost team owners money. It’ll cost networks money. It’ll cost advertisers money. NBA players are rich, but owners, networks and advertisers are WEALTHY. And those are the people who can make politicians care. If they want to. Now athletes are trying to make them want to.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:26 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      More awareness my eye. You can NOT raise it any more. The purpose is to get them to donate to the Marxist BLM. If I’m wrong and they actually do something substantive, then great.

      They ought to be putting pressure on the politicians to move Tim Scott’s police reform bill forward. As I understand it, it was in part to pay for training so that police can hopefully know better how to diffuse situations before they turn violent.



  5. Jambluehue99
    10:19 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    How about reporting all the facts and not just what fits your agenda. He was armed with a knife and resisted arrest. He didn’t get shot because he was black, he was shot because he was resisting arrest with a deadly weapon. Is that too hard to understand? If these spoiled brat athletes cared one bit for black lives they would have been protesting the city of Chicago for decades. If they cared for black lives they would they would be protesting black on black crime. If they cared for black lives they would be trying to shut down the abortion industry that has slaughtered millions of black babies over the last few decades. If they cared for black lives they would be protesting the “protestors” who destroy black neighborhoods in the name of “social justice”. But they aren’t concerned about black lives. They are useful idiot pawns in a game they don’t understand. They think they are relevant, when they are actually being used to further an agenda they don’t understand.



    • Nolecat21
      11:20 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Accountability is 100% correct. Own your actions. Follow the law. Don’t be a criminal. Be a good person. How easy would an officer’s job be if no one broke the law? That’s never going to happen though. Therefore, when u break the law and get caught, you should follow the orders of the officer. Their lives are on the line every day to protect each and every one of us. That has zero to do with wanting racial equality. Pretty certain most everyone would agree on wanting racial equality. Burning down cities and killing people is also not “wanting racial equality”. Protesting by not doing your job is not wanting racial equality. All the NBA players should put their money where their mouthes are. Donate the rest of their season earnings to start the change/reform. Start by showing up in Portland and seeing it first hand.



    • zod
      11:22 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Wow! A lot to unpack there, especially from someone who so deeply understands the black experience and embraces facts like yourself! First off, Jacob Blake wasn’t “armed with a knife”, he had a knife in his car. He told the cops about it, but it is not yet known if he did that before or after he got shot. I don’t know that, and neither do you. But don’t let “facts” bother your narrative. How many black neighborhoods in Chicago have you live in? You appear to be an expert. Some of the Kentucky players came from Chicago. Have you wondered what it was like for them growing up? Does it matter if you’re a good kid? Something bad happens in your neighborhood, what do you do? Call the cops? First of all, there aren’t many around because they tend to patrol in better neighborhoods. Those higher income tax payers deserve the best protection. And when the call goes out, here they come, guns drawn. How many stories of black people calling the police and then getting shot when they show up do you need to hear? Looting and rioting? Yeah, there’s some. But if those who serve and protect don’t value your life at all, that social contract is broken. It’s unpleasant, but are you really surprised? How many more snuff films do you need to see? Telling players that they don’t know anything about their lived experience is brilliant, mensa! Sounds like your the one who isn’t concerned bout black live. That why you need to be reminded that they matter, too.



    • PensacolaCat
      11:59 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

      One of the dumbest posts I’ve read “zod”. Maybe you should change your handle to dud instead?



    • satcheluk
      12:25 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Pesacola-I would say Zod’s comment is the most level headed comment I’ve read so far. Empathy is high EQ and shows an ability for abstract thought rather than the myopic comments that seem to be ubiquitous. When are you folks going to quit dismissing other people’s truths. He did nothing that warrants the outcome that he received and if you had grown up black in a white world you too would feel differently. It takes more effort to be empathetic. Do better!



    • Jambluehue99
      1:34 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Truth is truth. Fact is fact. There is no such thing as “other people’s truths”. If one accepts that premise, anything goes. We see the result of that thinking in the streets now, and it’s not a good thing.



    • IrishCat
      12:45 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Very well stated Zod.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:28 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Well Zod that’s interesting because I’ve seen videos of black people saying they DON’T want to defund police because the situations many of them live in will be worse and not better (their words, not mine). I know that’s not 100%, but neither are your scenarios.



  6. madarchitect
    10:50 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Everyone suggesting that people need to “do what they’re told” should look at the past few months as evidence that people are not going to do what they’re told. This includes people to consider themselves law abiding citizens. Reading through the comments above, it becomes obvious that there’s just a certain portion of society that does not want racial equality.



    • satcheluk
      12:26 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Indeed. Racism and prejudice is alive and well.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:28 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      One can be for equality and law & order at the same time.



  7. Mc12
    11:05 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Until there is personal accountability from all sides nothing is going to change.



  8. Demolition_man
    11:08 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Newsflash: No one cares about the NBA, even if there are former UK players in the spotlight.



    • satcheluk
      12:27 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Agreed, at least for me. I haven’t watched a game in years, but this has piqued my interest.



  9. Wade
    11:12 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    NBA is a small community and we know the real black community. NBA is enabling poor angry blacks and committing crimes not peacefully protesting. These people are dumb and blind obviously. Blacks people need to be accountable for themselves and the me me shit is old.always blaming others. Spend your money and time In the community’s nba. Nuthin but assholes. Cannon hinnant say his name. Died from racism not him biking in his yard I see through bs. We have to much going on to worry about you and scums getting shot for not listening to police. Yes change needs to happen for police officers who blatantly disregard lives but that’s what these criminals do when they have a weapon and I’d rather them be gone than them have a chance to kill innocent people brothers mothers kids sisters etc. Black community should know this innocent people die everyday from blacks.Work on yourselves. Grow it’s not us it’s you.



    • satcheluk
      12:30 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      What’s the saying? It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt. Applies to this comment. Shame on you.



    • Wade
      1:19 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Satch just March in line and do what your told. Wait til one of these idiots shoots someone you love for no reason or burns down your life work. I wish you the best idiot.



  10. Eddiemcwildcat
    11:22 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Well…Bye



    • Wade
      11:54 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Bye sir, I need a few things In my life and it ain’t anything black. not racist placist.



    • Wade
      1:35 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      All this is sad. Are groups supposed to cater to one group. What change are blacks folks making and talking about. I see enablers to continue stupid behavior and hatred towards police and whites. I have never seen racism so bad. And my high school has a pop a cracker day. We need to start raising up other groups we need a womens month, Spanish month, Asian, and so on for people of all color and contributors to America that are blessed and thankful.



  11. bankerbh
    11:27 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Interesting. No mention of Cal’s comments that were in the CJ yesterday about him being open to listening to the UK faculty group calling for changes, including the Rupp Arena name. He said it’s a chance to listen and learn. Will NCAA teams sit out games at some point? Loved Jordan for his accomplishments on the court and recognizing his customer base included two sides.



  12. T-Town Cat
    11:27 am August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Zack, I’m sure it means so much to those high school educated millionaires that you’re proud of them. Please read up on Vladimir Lenin’s and Karl Marx’s description of “useful idiots”. You could post your photo next to the term.



    • Corder
      12:09 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Haha exactly.



  13. KYCat4EVER
    12:07 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    NBA?
    Who cares?
    Who’s watching?
    These millionaires stop playing? Really?

    I suppose I’m like most of the non-viewers in the USA… won’t miss them… don’t watch them… and don’t like the league!

    GO BIG BLUE!

    It’s quite



  14. KYCat4EVER
    12:15 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Mc12… SPOT ON…

    For years I have been touting a movement called D.A.Y.T.

    It’s meant for all ages and all humans…

    It stands for “DO AS YOUR TOLD”

    When a Police Officer gives a an order or request… you do it!

    Failure to abide by that officers request or order leaves you open and responsible for any consequences… PERIOD!

    It’s simple. Just apply DAYT to any prior shooting by a Police Officer in the past 10-15 years and the person being shot by an officer failed the “DAYT”….

    I have no empathy for anyone who was shot by an officer who was not abiding by that Officers orders!

    Too bad… SO SAD!

    I back the BLUE and GO BIG BLUE!



  15. 8XChamps
    12:16 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    “Senseless shooting”… Hahaha! Facts really are optional here at KSR



  16. michaelb
    12:32 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Looks like nba is the one being boycotted . Views down 50%



  17. DaaaaCats
    12:46 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    If someone is killed, there should be a trial. Who are we to decide if the murder was justifiable? Let a jury hear the case and decide.



  18. goteam94
    1:57 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Zack have you still not done any research into the shooting which you’ve talked so much about? Senseless only on the part of Jacob Blake.

    It’s disappointing but not surprising you’ve chosen to ignore any facts regarding this shooting and just continue to ride the anti police train no matter what.



  19. Bluebird
    1:59 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Weird how these NBA threads keep attracting 30-100 comments. Funny how many of those comments are people saying they don’t care about the NBA. So why are you here? Why are you posting? Why does it make you so mad when people stand up peacefully and say that black people don’t deserve to be killed by police just because? Why don’t you just agree? “ACTUALLY he MIGHT have been NEAR a knife. Actually they don’t kill THAT many black people. ACTUALLY they kill a lot of other people too.” Why are you bending over backwards in a thread about a thing you don’t care about, to defend cops killing people?



    • CatsFanFrankfort
      2:18 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      The irony escapes them, it seems. They don’t care sooo much that they need to go out of their way to post and rage about it on a liberal-leaning college sports website.



    • Jambluehue99
      3:28 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      It’s not the NBA that we care about, it’s the damage being done to the country by the NBA and like minded groups who spew hate and intolerance in the name of “social justice”.



    • CatsFanFrankfort
      3:43 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      If only others could articulate that message as well as you just did!



    • Bluebird
      5:27 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Hate and intolerance like…“Please stop shooting all these people.” Truly awful. Thank God you and your friends showed up to take this brave stand. Some might have thought more damage was being done to the country by needlessly killing so many of citizens. Not you, though.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:31 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Bluebird, are you going to say with a straight face that there is not hatred for the all police in some circles out there? That’s painting with a broad brush and there’s a word for that. The leader of the NY BLM said you can’t be a cop if you’re black, and if a black becomes a cop, they’re no longer black, they’re blue. That’s racism.



    • Bluebird
      5:56 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

      Uhhh, I think you’re gonna find a lot more (and more damaging racism than that) on the other side of this issue, bud.



  20. rickshelton
    3:05 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    I’m done with the NBA. I love basketball but I’m sick of everything being politicized all the time. Hoping NFL doesn’t make same mistake. Of course players can say what they want but I also can choose to look elsewhere for entertainment.



  21. KAUG15
    4:14 pm August 27, 2020 Permalink

    Reading this comment thread is just really disheartening. I hope everyone here who doesn’t support the NBA players will also “put their money where their mouth is” and stop supporting UK football/basketball when the players decide to make their voices heard as well. Honestly sometimes I’m ashamed to wear the same blue as a small portion of our fanbase, but then I remember every sports team has this segment of their “fanbase” and truth be told they’re not actually fans.