The Lakers and Clippers have voted to boycott the rest of the NBA season.
Wednesday was a busy and heavy day for the NBA, as players on five different teams decided to sit out their respective playoff games in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting and widespread police brutality against Black people in America.
Later that evening, players from the remaining bubble teams convened in a meeting to chart out their next plan of action and discuss the possibility of going on a solidarity strike for the rest of the season.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, it appears as though the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers have drawn a line in the sand. Charania reports the two LA teams were the only two teams to vote on boycotting the remainder of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, and that LeBron James walked out of the meeting with the Lakers and Clippers following after him after they decided to do so.
The other teams reportedly voted to continue the season, but as the Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem pointed out, how does the NBA season continue without two of its main title contenders, its biggest face and some of its brightest stars?
The Lakers and Clippers may wind up forcing the hand of their fellow NBA players
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski clarified that this was more of a general polling sentiment than a final decision on the Lakers’ and Clippers’ parts, but it still presses the issue for the other 11 remaining playoff teams. Wojnarowski also reports these conversations will extend further into Thursday, but it’s highly unlikely the three scheduled playoff games for that day will be played.
Going on strike for Wednesday’s games was a powerful move that demanded the nation’s attention and drew the country’s focus back to the social justice issues that have faded into the background with the return of sports, but it was only the starting point. The next step is taking further action to make the most of this spotlight.
Boycotting for a day or two might not get the point across or force legislators into action, even if the Milwaukee Bucks were proactive in scheduling a call with Wisconsin’s Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor to ask what they could do to help enact change. Boycotting the rest of the season would force people to actively care about this social cause, especially if the ripple effects extended to the WNBA, MLB, MLS, as they did tonight. That’d certainly be the case if the NFL and NHL joined in as well.
Because of the raw emotions at work in Wednesday’s meeting, the players plan to reconvene on Thursday morning for another meeting to focus on more specific plans. Their meeting will coincide with the NBA Board of Governors meeting.
If the remaining NBA playoff teams still want to play and only two want to leave, that could be an issue with no clear resolution. Still, both major-market teams from L.A. dropping out puts pressure on the NBA to reconsider finishing this season, and it certainly gives the other players something to think about if guys like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Paul George are willing to forfeit their quest for a title in the service of something greater.
More on this story as it develops.