LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Milwaukee Bucks‘ decision to boycott Game 5 of their first round playoff series against the Orlando Magic promoted the NBA to postpone all three games scheduled for Wednesday.
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Bucks guard George Hill told ESPN’s Marc Spears, in explaining his team’s decision.
Milwaukee is about 40 miles north of Kenosha, Wisconsin, the city where 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times by police on Sunday, his father, also named Jacob Blake, has said. Blake was shot as he attempted to enter the driver’s side door of his vehicle with three of his children inside. Video of the shooting was distributed on social media.
The Bucks, who were scheduled to play the Magic at AdventHealth Arena here inside the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, refused to leave their locker room before the game, as league officials huddled outside of it.
Some players, including center Brook Lopez, worked out before the game. But when it came time for the team to take the floor at around 15 minutes before tipoff, as is customary for an NBA game, only Orlando’s players, as well as the referees working Wednesday’s game, took the floor. There was no activity at all from Milwaukee’s side of the court.
Then, with just a few minutes left on the game clock before the scheduled tip time, the Magic players slowly walked off the court and returned to their locker room, leaving only the four game referees out there. Eventually, Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s vice president of refereeing and training, told them to leave the floor, as well.
Shortly thereafter, the game balls were removed, as were the various accessories on both sides — like the name plates for each player’s assigned seat and the cushions on which some of them sit — were removed from each of the bench areas.
The only Bucks to leave the locker room at all were Hill and All-Star Khris Middleton, who used the bathroom and returned to it. There was also one member of the Milwaukee video staff that came out and gathered some computers and wires that were set up on the team’s bench, and returned to the back of the arena.
After the Bucks made their decision to sit Wednesday, players from around the league tweeted their support. LeBron James tweeted in all capital letters: “F— THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”