LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Game 5 of the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff series against the Portland Trailblazers was postponed today, along with the NBA’s two other scheduled playoff games, due to a boycott initiated by players on the Milwaukee Bucks over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Lakers star LeBron James tweeted shortly after the postponement was announced, writing: “F— THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”
The NBA Wednesday postponed all scheduled Game 5s – including the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Portland Trailblazers – minutes before the Bucks and Magic were set to begin Game 5 of their series shortly after 4 p.m., with the Bucks needing a win to advance to the second round.
A statement from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said the decision was made “in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today.”
The Lakers-Blazers game had been scheduled for 6 p.m. It’s unclear when the games will be rescheduled.
The Bucks failed to take the court for their scheduled game, telling league officials they were boycotting, and it soon became apparent that the rest of the teams scheduled to play Wednesday would follow suit.
“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted Wednesday. “The stand taken today by the players and (the organization) shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”
NBA reporter Malika Andrews shared a video of the game balls being put away and gear being loaded to go back onto the team’s buses.
Game balls are being put away, as the Bucks decide to boycott game 5 against the Magic. pic.twitter.com/Cy32q2CJH7
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) August 26, 2020
“The NBA, owners and front offices didn’t see this wave of player boycotts coming today. Hours ago, they all expected to be playing these games tonight. This is a pivot point for the NBA and professional sports in North America,” ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted following the boycott.
Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss, who is also a part-owner of the team, offered her support for the move.
I was excited to see us play – and hopefully close out our series – tonight. But I stand behind our players, today and always. After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough. #JusticeForJacobBlake #WeHearYou
— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) August 26, 2020
“I was excited to see us play — and hopefully close out our series — tonight,” she tweeted. “But I stand behind our players, today and always. After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough. #JusticeForJacobBlake #WeHearYou.”
The Lakers later sent out a tweet with the words “Demand justice” and the phone numbers and email address for Kenosha’s mayor and Kenosha County’s district attorney, and the phone number for the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
The team also released a statement saying, “We stand with our players and the players of the NBA in their demand for justice and the end to racial violence.”
“Eighty percent of NBA players are Black men. We cannot love them for the joy and entertainment that they bring to the world, yet sit in silence and fail to use our platforms and resourced to amplify their voices when they demand justice and equality that America has promised us all but denied Black people for too long,” the team wrote.
All three of Wednesday’s WNBA games were also postponed, including a game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx.
CBSLA’s Jim Hill spoke with Los Angeles Clippers executive and NBA legend Jerry West about the situation.
“It takes courage for the NBS to allow the players to voice their concerns with what’s going on,” West said. “But more importantly, they are in partnership with our players and they’re to be, and I’m talking about the NBA, commended for understanding that hopefully, our players can help make a difference in this world and stop this needless and reckless regard for Black lives.”
It was reported late Wednesday night that the Lakers and the Clippers voted to suspend the remainder of the season during an impromptu meeting at the Disney bubble following the postponement of Wednesday’s games.
The Dodgers were scheduled to play the San Francisco Giants at 6:45 p.m. in San Francisco.
Blake was shot several times in the back Sunday as he tried to enter his vehicle after a confrontation with police. Authorities have not provided any information about what led to the shooting, which was captured on video.
Blake remains hospitalized with serious injuries.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)