LeBron James Asked Himself 'What the F--k Are We Going to Do Now?' About Strike

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James plays in the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 131-122 to win the series 4-1. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks' decision to not play their Game 5 matchup against the Orlando Magic was not one with a grander plan in mind. It was born out of emotion, a combination of exhaustion and anger over continued police brutality against Black people in the United States.

As their fellow players went on strike in solidarity with the Bucks, however, LeBron James wondered to himself how to create actionable change out of the unplanned work stoppage.

"When I went to bed, I had major reservations about playing," LeBron told The Athletic's Joe Vardon. "It wasn't what they (the Bucks) said; we heard what they said. It was, 'What the f--k are we going to do now? Are we just going to go back out there and play again, after all of this, with no plan?' Nah. What was the plan?

"I woke up Thursday morning and I came up with a plan."

The Bucks' strike amounted to what's called a wildcat strike, or a refusal to work without the overall union's support or approval. While the remaining players in the bubble quickly followed suit, all parties had to work quickly as they wanted both actionable change and to save the remainder of the playoffs.

A formal strike not authorized by the NBA would have instantly invalidated the collective bargaining agreement, which was why the games were categorized as "postponed." As James noted, some players felt as if it would be near-impossible to create actionable change without walking away from the season entirely.

"If we don't have a plan, then what are we talking about? Why are we still here?" James said.

A small group of players, including James, consulted with Barack Obama, who advised them to continue playing and use their platform to create social change. Players and ownership came to an agreement to further support social justice causes, which include teams opening their arenas as polling places for November's election. 

"It's not just about me, but it's about every other player in this league and how we continue to shed light about things that's going on in our community, things that's going on in America, things going on around the world and being able to have this platform, which is the NBA's platform, and we're together," LeBron said.