Clippers' Doc Rivers Says NBA Teams Are 'Closer' After Strike and Meetings

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 29, 2020

Players from the Oklahoma City Thunder take a knee during the national anthem before Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Doc Rivers believes that among the many things to come out of the NBA protests this week is a new sense of camaraderie within teams across the league. 

The Los Angeles Clippers head coach told reporters Saturday that teams are "closer because of the last 48 hours" after the protests and player meetings. 

The NBA postponed scheduled playoff games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday stemming from a player strike, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks, in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer on Aug. 23. 

After some initial uncertainty if the postseason would continue, the players voted to remain on the NBA campus to finish the schedule. 

Per Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, there was initially some frustration with the Bucks' decision to protest because it "wasn't part of an organized plan of action."

Haynes did note Wednesday's players meeting had some tense moments, including LeBron James leading most of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates on a walkout after being pressed by Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem over what he planned to do about the situation:

"James then said, 'We're out,' and walked out with almost all of his teammates following behind, sources said, with Dwight Howard being the only Laker who remained.

"The Clippers walked out as well, joining the Lakers as the only two of the 13 teams still in the bubble to vote against completing the rest of the playoffs."

The players met again Thursday to decide the fate of this season, with Haynes noting that James did fully support Milwaukee's decision but "wanted unity and a specific call to action if they wanted to take a stand."

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced Friday they agreed to several new initiatives, including formation of a social justice coalition featuring players, coaches and team governors; requiring the use of NBA arenas as voting locations or election-related uses; and creation of advertising spots promoting election awareness and voting access that will air during games.