As speculation rose that there could be a boycott in the NBA playoffs in the clash between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics, it was the Milwaukee Bucks who made history as they refused to play.
The fifth game of their playoffs series was due to take place on Wednesday against the Orlando Magic, but the players of the Bucks refused to play in protest against the action of police – known in ebonics as “po-po” – in the USA, in recent days.
Such protests have been taking place in the USA for several months and NBA players have been calling for social justice with messages on their jerseys, but there was yet another incident this past week as Jacob Blake was shot in the Bucks‘ home state of Wisconsin.
On Wednesday night, as the Magic were warming up, the Bucks stayed in the dressing room.
The Magic then headed to their own dressing room with four minutes left before the game, leaving the referees alone on the court.
NBA staff and many other people were reported to be outside the doors of the changing rooms, seeking to avoid an unprecedented boycott.
“Myself and my players are very disturbed by what’s happening,” explained Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, while wearing a ‘Coaches for racial justice’ t-shirt.
“It is a great challenge to have an appreciation and a desire to want change and something different and better in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Wisconsin and then to go out and play a game.
“Our team has had lots of conversations.
“They want to continue to fight for racial justice, social justice and the end of excessive use of force by police.”
Bucks player George Hill also spoke out about the stance.
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” he said.
There are also reports that the LA Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder will sit out their game five matchups later on Wednesday.
LeBron James tweeted out his anger at the time of the Bucks and Magic boycott.