The Milwaukee Bucks are boycotting Game 5 of their NBA playoff matchup against the Orlando Magic as a response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks have decided to boycott the playoff contest which created a ripple effect for the upcoming NBA postseason games.
“The Bucks players made this decision in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin, ultimately deciding that they wouldn’t leave the locker room for the start of Game 5 against Orlando,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
It is not clear if the Magic joined the Bucks in this decision, but all indications are neither team will forfeit the game. The Bucks are currently up 3-1 in the series, meaning they’re just one game away from advancing to the second round. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the Magic do not want to accept the Bucks’ forfeit.
“Bucks players are in locker room attempting to reach the attorney general of Wisconsin, Josh Kaul, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Magic players are leaving the arena soon — not accepting the Bucks‘ forfeit,” Charania noted on Twitter.
The Rockets-Thunder and Blazers-Lakers announced they would be boycotting their Game 5 matchups as well, per Charania. The NBA later postponed all three playoff matchups, and it will be interesting to see how long the postseason pause will last. Wojnarowski reported that the NBA plans to reschedule all three games.
George Hill on NBA Restart: ‘We Shouldn’t Have Even Come to This Damn Place’
The decision comes after Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse admitted earlier in the day that some of the team’s players have considered leaving the NBA bubble in the wake of the shooting. Boston Celtics players are among the others who have voiced a similar idea. Bucks guard George Hill admitted on the eve of Game 5 that he believes continuing the NBA season was the wrong decision.
“We can’t do anything [from Orlando],” Hill said, per Yahoo Sports. “First of all, we shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are.”
Charania reported the Magic took the court for their scheduled pregame warmups as NBA officials stood outside the Bucks locker room. The Celtics and Raptors have publicly discussed making a similar decision in Game 1 of their second-round series.
The Magic Took Part in Pregame Warmups While the Bucks Remained in the Locker Room
Unlike the Magic, the Bucks did not participate in pregame warmups, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. The Magic later left the floor as the officials were the last ones to leave.
“There are seven minutes on the clock here at AdventHealth Arena, and the Bucks have yet to take the court,” Bontemps tweeted. “Brook Lopez was out on the court shooting earlier. Right now, though, only Orlando is warming up. …The buzzer just sounded to start the game. No one is out here but the referees.”
Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry sent out a tweet backing the players’ action.
“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Lasry tweeted. “The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”