The NBA playoffs is one of the most watched and most competitive parts of sports entertainment within the U.S. As the phrase goes, “everyone and their mom” will be watching every year. In a year of such uncertainty, it once seemed as if the world of professional sports would be going by the wayside for the sake of the public health; however, on Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic did not take to the court for a much different cause.
On Aug. 23, police officers shot Jacob Blake in front of a few of his own children. Reports state that Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down from his injuries, and this tragedy already in such a short time has led to more civil unrest. It appears to once again be a trend that when someone is stripped of their human dignity, death and destruction follows.
The NBA saw an overwhelming response of support for Blake and his family with the aforementioned protest by the basketball teams. Players from both Orlando and Milwaukee boycotted their game on Wednesday as an answer to the events that transpired earlier in the week. The result of them rising up and standing against violence was other people and the league itself following them in support. Reports state that other teams scheduled to play that day planned to also not take the court for their games, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and our very own Oklahoma City Thunder. Since these teams stood together and would not be playing their scheduled games, The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced that all of Wednesday’s games would be postponed and rescheduled. The Bucks management have been very outspoken about their support of their players’ decision, with Senior Vice President Larsy himself saying that some things are more important than the game that they all love.
Consequently, the NBA is not alone in their protest. The WNBA has also shown support for Jacob Blake and his family. Four teams joined the ranks of the boycott by taking a new on the court before leaving their games without playing. With all that this year has held for people worldwide so far, and the transitions that many sports teams and athletes have undergone, a call to action against systemic violence and for equality has emerged from their platform, and the NBA’s support has been well received.
But the league also recognizes that their actions against inequality cannot stop there. Many of the NBA players are actively appealing to the Board of Governors to finish the season, because of the sacrifice that they have made to play the sport that they love and to do the job they have been chosen for, but more importantly because of the voice that the NBA platform gives them to communicate a message to thousands of people at every game and off the court of hope, equality and justice. The basketball games will always resume and can always be rescheduled, but now these players compete for something more.