The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors will not play Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal on Thursday to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, but NBA players have agreed to resume the postseason according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The game was scheduled to tip off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. According to the Athletic’s Shams Charania, the goal is to resume the playoffs on Friday.
With his three children in the car, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin — near Milwaukee. According to Blake’s father, his son is paralyzed and unlikely to ever walk again.
The Celtics and Raptors engaged in extensive discussions together about whether they wanted to play, meeting Tuesday night to talk about next steps. The Milwaukee Bucks accelerated the process on Wednesday when they refused to come onto the court for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic. Shortly afterward, the rest of the teams slated to play on Wednesday went on strike as well.
On Thursday, players had another meeting and agreed to resume play, citing a sense of normalcy returning with families joining the bubble, according to Charania.
Before the Bucks sat out, Jayson Tatum said the situation was difficult for everyone.
“We’re in a bubble. We can’t leave,” he said. “As much as we’d love to go back to our communities and stand with our people, we’re in this bubble and kind of isolated from everybody else, and I think that’s very frustrating. A lot of players have voiced that. I know some guys have talked about going home to be there instead of being isolated.”
Tatum added that many things presently happening are bigger than basketball.
“How many points we score, that s—- don’t matter right now,” Tatum said. “Being a Black man in America is more important than what I’m doing out there on a basketball court. Using my platform, my voice to help create conversations and change is more important than anything I can do out there. You think about a man getting shot in his back seven times with his kids in the car is way more important than anything I can do out there on the floor. Just knowing his (three) kids are going to be traumatized for the rest of their life seeing their dad get shot for no reasons, I couldn’t even imagine how that’s going to affect them the rest of their life.”
By Tom Westerholm, masslive.com