Lakers' LeBron James Reportedly 'Miffed' by Bucks' Lack of Plan for StrikeAugust 28, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was reportedly "miffed" by the Milwaukee Bucks' decision to skip Wednesday's playoff game against the Orlando Magic without an action plan to move forward after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Friday several players, including James, were frustrated with Bucks guard George Hill for suggesting the postseason should stop:
"LeBron James was one of the many players miffed with the Bucks' handling of the situation as well, sources said. To him and so many others, it put them in a no-win situation.
"His frustration with Hill and the Bucks was because the players didn't have a plan of action that would warrant players returning to play, sources said. James' mindset, sources said, was if they're refusing to play, then what's the end game and what demands must be met to continue?"
James reversed course several times during two days of discussion about whether to resume the season or leave the bubble in Orlando, Florida, per Haynes. That included walking out of one meeting by saying "We're out" before changing his mind after a later session with owners about helping the Black community.
Although the talks continued after the four-time NBA MVP's initial walkout, everyone involved knew the league couldn't continue unless the game's longtime gold standard was going to play, per Haynes.
Thursday's games were postponed, but NBA executive vice president Mike Bass released a statement saying the league was hopeful play would resume "either Friday or Saturday."
The situation highlighted James' unique power stance within the NBA. No other singular player could hold the fate of the entire playoffs in the palm of his hand, and he used that leverage to secure a commitment from owners to develop more actionable items to help Black communities.
He posted a message on Twitter about the need for action Thursday:
Meanwhile, James and the Lakers are one of 13 teams still in contention for this year's NBA championship.
It's been an unprecedented season with a hiatus of over four months because of the coronavirus pandemic and the amplification of the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd was killed by police in late May.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in June multiple players, including the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving, raised questions about whether the season should resume amid the push for racial equality.
"Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night," an unnamed player told Woj. "It's a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what's happening in our communities."
Those concerns became at least partial reality in recent weeks, and the Blake shooting was a call back to action for the NBA and its players.
Play is set to resume in the coming days, but players will likely be using their platform more to discuss racial justice and less about what happened in that night's game.