By Arnie Leshin
It has been decided that the National Basketball Association players have the luxury to “take a night off,” and that came from President Donald Trump Thursday morning after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game Wednesday with the Orlando Magic and the two other scheduled games that day were postponed by the NBA.
This came after the Bucks reacted to the shooting of a black man by a white police officer Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisc., which is 50 south of where Milwaukee plays, its home games without the coronavirus pandemic that now has the league playing its restarted shortened season playoffs at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Thus, the Bucks never left their locker room and the Magic got the news while it was holding its pre-game practice. Shortly after, the Oklahoma City-Houston contest was called off with both teams agreeing, and then the NBA shut down the Portland Trailblazers-Los Angeles Lakers finale.
But the boycott didn’t last long, and the NBA says play will resume today with three games — the Denver Nuggets-Utah Jazz, the Boston Celtics-Toronto Raptors, and the Los Angeles Clippers-Dallas Mavericks, — with the Boston-Toronto game the first of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and the other two still in the quarterfinals.
Michael Jordan, the Hall of Fame legend who owns the Charlotte Hornets, made an appearance Thursday morning at the NBA meeting to discuss the issue, and he acknowledged he was still upset and angry over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, and now comes this shooting of another black man in Kenosha. Jacob Blake, who was fleeing from two police officers who had their pistols in hands, When he opened his car door and reached in, there were seven shots fired at him, and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Said Jordan: “This is sickening, it is people in the streets, including the police, just opening fire. I haven’t heard all the facts, but a shooting is a shooting. I know they did find a knife on the floor of the car, but no gun as the officers suspected.”
The Philadelphia 76ers, already eliminated in the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, submitted a released statement that they stand in solidarity with the players.
But there were more killings in Kenosha Wednesday, and with this Facebook removed a self-declared militant page entitled “The Kenosha Guard” and it instructed the armed vigilantes to patrol the streets in Kenosha and take charge, do what you have to do.
In regard to this, the two other shootings resulted in one death, one serious injury, and the arrest of the suspected 17-year-old male who did the shooting.
No further reports on that incident, only the news that the NBA will take the court again.