The Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott their playoff game Wednesday with the Orlando Magic following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in the Bucks’ home state of Wisconsin.
Blake, a black man who was shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday, is recovering in hospital and is conscious.
But he is paralysed from the waist down and his lawyers said it will take “a miracle” for him to walk again.
Bucks and Orlando Magic were set to begin Game 5 of their series, with the Bucks needing a win to advance to the second round.
The Bucks, who are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and hold a 3-1 lead over the Magic, took to the court for pre-game warm-ups but then remained in the locker room when they were due to return. Milwaukee is in the state of Wisconsin, just 40 miles from Kenosha, where the shooting took place.
An hour or so after the Bucks-Magic game had been due to start, with reports rife that the later games would also be boycotted by the players, the NBA released a statement announcing its decision to postpone all three games.
“The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers – have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled,” the statement said.
Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry confirmed his team’s decision to boycott with a social media post.
“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Lasry wrote on Twitter. “The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen.
“I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100 per cent behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”