The Atlantic, August 27, 2020: NBA Players Put America on Notice
Back in June, before the NBA began playing in its Florida bubble, the Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was passionately opposed to continuing the season. The death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer the previous month had prompted a national upheaval over racial injustice. On a conference call with more than 80 players, The Athletic reported, Irving said he didn’t feel right playing professional basketball under the circumstances, and he believed that sports would only be a distraction from pursuing equality.
Some other players criticized him for being too extreme, but Irving, a six-time All Star and the NBA players’ association’s vice president, turned out to be right. Last night, the entire slate of NBA playoff games was postponed after the players refused to take the court in protest over the treatment of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot seven times in the back Sunday by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer. The NBA players’ action began with the Milwaukee Bucks, whose home arena is about 40 miles north of Kenosha. The game was then shelved when the Orlando Magic refused to accept a win by forfeit; other scheduled games were quickly postponed, too.