Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted "change doesn't happen with just talk" after players decided to resume the 2020 NBA playoffs, one day after striking in protest of police violence and discrimination against Black people.
The Milwaukee Bucks spearheaded the walkout, which spread across the WNBA, MLS, MLB and tennis on Wednesday and Thursday. Players held a meeting Thursday morning in which they decided to resume the season after hours of spirited talks Wednesday night, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The NBA postponed games Wednesday and Thursday, in what was largely a procedural move. A formal strike would have violated the league's collective bargaining agreement, causing it to void and likely ending the season. The NBA's Board of Governors held a meeting Thursday and is expected to meet with players later in the day.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that James, who voted to end the season Wednesday night, had a change of heart and was among the players who pushed to finish the playoffs. James reportedly wants the league's ownership to put forth concrete action on social justice causes, beyond the $300 million over the next 10 years they have pledged.
Social justice messaging has been a large component of the NBA's restart, with "Black Lives Matter" being painted on the court and players wearing league-approved phrases on the back of their jerseys. Players pushed for the league to back social justice causes in the negotiation to resume play after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police earlier this year.
The inciting incident of the latest walkouts was the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake seven times in the back when he leaned into the driver side of his car to check on his three children, who were in the vehicle. Blake's family says he is paralyzed from the waist down.
Protests have been ongoing in Kenosha and turned deadly late Tuesday when Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old who has posted support for "Blue Lives Matter" and President Donald Trump, allegedly shot and killed two people and injured another. Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide.