George Hill Says He Didn't Tell Bucks Teammates His Plan to Protest for Game 5

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 29, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) celebrates the team's win over the Orlando Magic with guard George Hill (3) and center Robin Lopez (42) in an NBA basketball first round playoff game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

When George Hill entered the Milwaukee Bucks locker room for Game 5 of a first-round series against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, no one knew he didn't plan on dressing.

Only after he shared his plan to protest police brutality in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake did his teammates also decide not to play.

Matt Velazquez @Matt_Velazquez

George Hill said he decided Wednesday morning that he wasn't going to play in the Bucks' game that day. He didn't tell his teammates. When guys found out, he said it was just a trickle effect. They decided if their brother wasn't playing, they weren't playing, he said.

On Saturday, after the Bucks eliminated the Magic with a 118-104 win in the rescheduled Game 5, Hill said Wednesday's protest was the result of a trickle-down effect. Once Hill said he wouldn't play, the Bucks said they wouldn't, either. Within hours, the NBA postseason had been postponed.

"I don't want any credit for it," Hill said. "I just was a human and followed my heart."

Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back seven times in front of his children by officer Rusten Sheskey while returning to his car after an alleged domestic dispute in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake is expected to survive but is paralyzed from the waist down.

Kenosha is about 35 miles south of Milwaukee.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was warming up when Hill made it known he was going to protest. Once Antetokounmpo heard that Hill and Sterling Brown wouldn't play, the reigning MVP decided he wouldn't either.

Brown sued the city of Milwaukee and said officers targeted him and used excessive force while citing him for a parking violation in 2018.

On Wednesday, the team remained in its locker room and called Wisconsin's attorney general and lieutenant governor to demand justice on behalf of Blake, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Once news of the protest broke, other NBA teams indicated they would follow suit. The league postponed the playoffs before that could happen.

Soon, WNBA, MLB, MLS and NHL teams postponed games too. A number of NFL teams canceled practice.

On Thursday, NBA players and owners came together on a set of initiatives aimed at advancing social justice, voting rights and criminal justice reform.

Hill may not want credit, but history will remember him as the player who helped spur one of the most remarkable protests in sports history.