As a result, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in Game 5 of their NBA Playoffs game against the Orlando Magic and the NBA cancelled games for the rest of that day and the day after that.
In solidarity with NBA players, TNT analyst and retired NBA Champion, Kenny Smith walked off Turner’s “Inside The NBA” set rather than broadcasting. “This is tough,” he said.
“I mean right now my head is ready to explode,” Smith said. “Like just in the thoughts of what’s going on. I don’t even know if I am even appropriate enough to say it, what the players are feeling and how they are feeling. I haven’t talked to any of the players. Coming in and even driving here, getting into the studio, hearing calls and people talking …
“And for me, I think the biggest thing now as a Black man, as a former player, I think it’s best for me to support the players and just not be here tonight.”
The Bucks did meet with Wisconsin’s Attorney General Josh Kaul & Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Barnes stressed the importance of voting and why bringing concerns to local legislature is quite imporanet.
As a result, the NBPA and the NBA reached an agreement for all 29 NBA arenas to be used as polling centers during the 2020 Presidential Election in November.
Appearing on Heavy Live With Scoop B, I asked ESPN analyst and former Chicago Bulls player, Jay Williams if he would have played after the protest. “It depends,” he told me.
“It really depends. It really does. I — first and foremost, I don’t think that they were ready to do that. I think that happened on accident. The way I see it is that the Bucks forfeited their game because they wanted to do what was right for the state that they repped. I think by doing that, and by not communicating that to the rest of the teams in the bubble, forced Orlando to react and boycott; which then happened with the rest of the teams. But I think ultimately when it got to that meeting, and you heard rumors of LeBron saying: ‘I got my money! I’m good. We don’t need to play.’ I think that was because LeBron James was frustrated that it wasn’t properly communicated to everybody. Especially considering the way he’s partnered with different arenas with More Than A Vote, it wasn’t properly communicated about what happened there. So I think everybody was trying to react instead of being proactive. I don’t think that there’s been a league that has done as much for the cause as the NBA has done. So for me initially, I don’t think I would’ve gone directly to boycotting; I think I would’ve used the illusion of boycott to push owners to do more and to hire lobbyists. But this goes back to the original question man. I would’ve came to the table but I’m also different. I would’ve came to the table with a list of demands of ‘We need these things in place, we need to see traction on these things before we start playing again’…”