NBA Players Will Resume 2020 Playoffs; Thursday Games to Be Postponed

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2020

Members of the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets kneel around a Black Lives Matter logo during the national anthem before the start of an NBA basketball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

NBA players appear to have decided to resume the postseason at the Walt Disney World Resort following their protest in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.  

The league released a statement saying Thursday's games would be postponed, but that they were hoping to restart Friday or Saturday, via Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

NBA statement on hopeful Postseason return on Friday or Saturday. https://t.co/Qn0fcC7KHa

The NBA will hold a video meeting Thursday with a group of players and the team governors for the 13 teams still in Orlando, the NBPA and NBA labor relations committee chair Michael Jordan to "discuss next steps."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported players decided during a meeting Thursday to continue the playoffs.

Wojnarowski noted Thursday's scheduled games—Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz; Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors; Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks—will be postponed.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, LeBron James had a "change of position" on whether or not to play, "relaying it was in their best interest to finish out the season." On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers had voted to end the season, per Charania.

Charania noted that "players today discussed the sacrifices all of them have made to reach this point in the postseason, and sense of normalcy returning with families entering Disney Campus. Players who voted not to play on Wednesday night understood."

Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report also shared the perspective of some players that led to the decision to resume the postseason:

Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks

Sources: Many players believed that leaving the bubble would take away their platform and felt that real change and awareness can come from working in Orlando on this big stage. Also many conversations about how this can be a ripple effect in sports.

This all comes after Wojnarowski reported the Milwaukee Bucks decided to sit out Wednesday's playoff game against the Orlando Magic in protest. Charania reported the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder elected to do the same with their playoff game.

The NBA then announced all three playoff games Wednesday, including the one between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers, had been postponed.

According to Wojnarowski, every NBA player was invited to a meeting to discuss what the next steps would be following the postponements. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated cited a veteran player who said before the meeting, "The season is in jeopardy."

However, Haynes added, "There's a sizable amount of players advocating to finish the season out since sacrifices were made to enter the bubble, believing the NBA platform is a useful resource in this social climate."

Bucks guard George Hill summarized the overall feelings for many players, saying, "We're tired of the killings and the injustice," per Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated.

Bucks vice president of strategic marketing and business operations Alex Lasry tweeted: "Some things are bigger than basketball. 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% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change."

Many players, including James, reacted to Milwaukee's decision (NSFW language):

LeBron James @KingJames


Ja Morant @JaMorant

respect ✊🏽

DeMar DeRozan @DeMar_DeRozan

Respect @bucks!!!!

Donovan Mitchell @spidadmitchell


Jamal Murray @BeMore27


A number of NBA players joined protests following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people before the season restarted. Some were hesitant about whether the league should have even restarted its season because games could distract from the fight against police brutality and systemic racism.

Haynes reported before Wednesday's decision to postpone the games that the National Basketball Players Association executive committee held discussions with players who were considering sitting out games after they were "emotionally traumatized by the latest police-involved shooting" of a Black person.

"Players began reaching out to the committee in recent days, sharing that they're not in the right frame of mind to play basketball," Haynes wrote.

Eric Levenson, Alisha Ebrahimji and Christina Maxouris of CNN reported video emerged of police in Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting Blake in the back multiple times as he attempted to get into an SUV with his children, who were already inside the vehicle.

Blake's family said he is hospitalized and paralyzed from the waist down. Two police officers were placed on administrative leave.