Report: Lakers, Clippers Voted Not to Finish Season After Jacob Blake Shooting

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, second from left, wears a Black Lives Matter shirt and kneels with teammates during the national anthem prior to an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

The two best teams in the Western Conference reportedly voted to sit out the rest of the NBA season following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Clippers voted not to play. Charania also noted every other team voted to continue with the playoffs in the bubble at Walt Disney World Resort, while LeBron James called for more action from the league's owners.

Charania also described the scene in which Udonis Haslem spoke up and asked how the season could continue without the Lakers and Clippers.

Kawhi Leonard and James were adamant that the season not be restarted, per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

David Aldridge of The Athletic provided more details:

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ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported on what happened, noting "The Clippers and Lakers voting on perhaps not continuing with the season was considered more of a polling, than a final vote, sources tell ESPN. The resumption of the playoffs remains still up in the air" before providing more details:

Wojnarowski and ESPN's Malika Andrews noted the players have another meeting scheduled for the morning to continue the discussion about how to proceed with the postseason. Wojnarowski added the meeting would take place at the same time as the NBA Board of Governors' call at 11 a.m. ET.

James has been a vocal leader for the NBA and sports world in general on a number of social justice topics, including the response to the police shooting of Blake:

"And y'all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!!" James tweeted. "Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This s--t is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE"

On the Clippers' side, head coach Doc Rivers opened up during an emotional press conference following his team's win Tuesday:

"Watching the Republican convention, and they're spewing this fear. All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot. We're the ones denied to live in certain communities. We've been hung. We've been shot.

"All you do is keep hearing about fear. It's amazing to me why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It's just really so sad. Like I should just be a coach, and it's so often reminded of my color. You know? It's just really sad. We've got to do better.

"But we've got to demand better. You know, it's funny. We protest, and they send riot guards, right? They send people in riot outfits. They go up to Michigan with guns, and they're spitting on cops. And nothing happens. The training has to change in the police force. The unions have to be taken down in the police force. My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We're not trying to defund the police and take all their money away. We're trying to get them to protect us. Just like they protect everybody else.

"I didn't want to talk about it before the game because it's so hard. ... If you watch that video, you don't need to be Black to be outraged. You need to be American and outraged. And how dare the Republicans talk about fear? We're the ones that need to be scared. We're the ones having to talk to every Black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over? It's just ridiculous.

"And it just keeps going. There's no charges. Breonna Taylor—no charges. Nothing. All we're asking is you live up to the constitution. That's all we're asking. For everybody. For everyone."

Wednesday night's votes came at a large meeting in the NBA's bubble after all three of the day's playoff games were postponed. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey reported that head coaches were invited, and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported referees also joined.

Many of the league's players joined the worldwide protests following the killing of George Floyd before they entered the bubble for the season's restart. In Walt Disney World Resort, they have worn shirts with messages such as "Black Lives Matter" while kneeling during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality and systemic racism.

However, Haynes reported many players were "emotionally traumatized" by the police shooting of Blake and "not in the right frame of mind to play basketball."