When the buzzer sounded for tip-off of game 5, the court and both benches were empty. The Milwaukee Bucks did not take the court, deciding to strike in response to yet another shooting of a Black man by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, just 45 minutes from Milwaukee.

According to widespread reports, Jacob Blake was shot by police 7 times in the back in front of his children. During the ensuing protests, 2 protestors were killed and another injured by a gunman believed to be involved in a white nationalist group. Video has surfaced on social media that appears to show police interacting with Kyle Rittenhouse, the alleged shooter, before the attack, saying “We appreciate you guys. We really do.”

The Milwaukee Bucks’ players have long been leaders in the struggle against anti-Blackness and racism, including standing with Bucks player Sterling Brown when he was the victim of police brutality and rejected a bribe from the City of Milwaukee to be quiet about it.

While reports suggest that the Orlando Magic did want to play game 5, Orlando’s players have not yet spoken publicly and they did leave the court before tip-off and return to the locker room. There have currently been no indications as to whether others teams will play as the day continues, as this was the first of three games scheduled for today.

Update: Shams Charania reports that the Rockets and Thunder will also refuse to play game 5 of their series tonight.

Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

29 Comments

  • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

    I’m a Bucks fan now.

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    All games today boycotted. It’s a strike.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    We live in insane times, guys. More power to these guys though for standing up for what they believe in though. I’m really curious as to what’s going to happen going forward (how much influence will the players have if the season is canceled again?), but I imagine that’s a discussion that’s being had right now between the players and the league.

  • Avatar jbugs says:

    Let’s hope this boycott lasts to give Dame and Beverley time to get back to full strength! thank you bucks!

  • Avatar John Maclean says:

    I was four square with the players prior to the bubble and if they feel this way now then so be it. Let’s not kid ourselves though. This is likely the end of the season. I can’t see a scenario where they take a couple days off and then resume. This is the type of thing where it’s all or nothing. Bigger than basketball..

    • Avatar jbugs says:

      Are you saying they cancel the bubble b/c nobody is playing or they cancel the bubble out of protest?

      I get the importance of boycotting a single night of games, but there is way too much money on the line, especially in a season where so much money has already been lost, to cancel the playoffs. That would be a huge loss to the players. At some point, everybody has to go to work. They guys are so fortunate to be as successful as they are playing a sport and they appreciate that. They love the game. And they have a ton of appreciation for their hard work and how it’s translated into success. I wouldn’t expect them to walk away from that to take a stance over this shooting.

  • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

    The Bucks blog had some really good social change discussions going on. Talking some common sense solutions such as requiring more education for cops, better training about how to diffuse situations, better screening, eliminating qualified immunity to open cops up to civil liability, somehow reducing the power of police unions to protect miscreant cops. Incremental changes. Better than doing nothing.

    I’ve sed before that Silver should be elected prez if he pulled off the bubble effort. Now, he’s got an even tougher obstacle with guys like George Hill saying “We should have never come to this damn place,” vs. voices like CP3 and LBJ who say that being there gives the movement more attention.

    Again, Silver’s got much more than the virus on his hands to finish up this season.

    As to what’s happened in Kenosha, I keep waiting to hear from the cops about what the eff happened beforehand to make them shoot this guy. Strange silence from them, so far.

    • Avatar jbugs says:

      I’m also really interested in hearing what their side of the story is. When it came to George Floyd, the guys was clearly helpless. The officer had no reason to be on top of him like that. In this case, guns were completely drawn and he was shot multiple times as he was moving and trying to do something and I’m curious what these cops are going to say they were thinking. There’s such little information as to what happened. Was he going to the car to make sure his kids were okay? Was there a weapon in the car (or did the cops have a legitimate reason to think there was a weapon in the car)? Even if you are a racist cop (not saying there are), how dumb can you be to do this in the wake of George Floyd? It’s only been a couple days, but the silence is deafening.

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      Obviously as a fan I’m biased a bit here, but I agree w/ CP3 and LBJ in that playing has given the players a way bigger platform. The boycott is huge news *because* there is a bubble. As sad as this is, the boycott has gotten a lot of powerful people’s attention only because of the money that’s now on the line.

      I agree that there’s a ton of common sense reforms that I think most people would be ok with, but the problem seems to be that police unions refuse to budge on *anything* and there are a lot of politicians who don’t want to be labeled as “anti-cop,” so it’s not so much a negotiation as it flipping the table over and then flipping the bird and walking away.

      Also re: Kenosha, the silence is deafening. Even if I wanted to give the police the benefit of the doubt (which…I’m disinclined to do, given all the police brutality that we’ve seen in just the last few months), I just can’t think of any “good reason” to 1. shoot a dude in the back at point blank range in front of his kids, and/or 2. defend a white supremacist.

      • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

        I guess it’s my legal training (or just a sense of fairness) that wants me to hear both sides before “rushing to judgment.” I’ve seen some seemingly ‘slam dunk” legal arguments and ask: what can they possibly say to counter that? And then the other side presents a plausible defense that maybe instills a lil doubt.

        Waiting for Kenosha.

        • Avatar chogokin says:

          I passed the bar back in 2011, so I feel you on that. I want to hear both sides, and I realize anything is possible, but I also realize that the simplest solution tends to be the correct solution most of the time. Obviously if there are facts that come out afterwards that contradict my preliminary judgment I’m absolutely willing to admit my mistake and re-evaluate. After all, I’m not a judge/jury member, I’m just some dude on the Internet – me making a premature judgment doesn’t wrongly condemn anyone to prison/jail.

          I get you though, I guess I’m just not creative enough to think of w/ a set of facts that would make the Kenosha police department more sympathetic after all that’s happened.

          • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

            If I’m the Kenosha cops lawyer, I’ve got to make out a case that it was reasonable for the cops to think that Blake was reaching into the car for a weapon/firearm. Shiny metal glistening object , blue steel maybe? Look for something like that. Cops tend to be very resourceful when their asses are on the line. Usually they get muy bueno legal representation.

          • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

            I’m thinking the Kenosh cop mite say that he shot Blake in defense of the kids in the car. That he reasonably thought Blake was going for a knife (initial domestic “violence” call) to harm the kids. The cops mite say they knew the kids were in the car but had no knowledge they were Blake’s and there’s some info out there that the cops may have known Blake had a knife in the car. Blake was moving towards the kids and bang. “Defense of others” may be incoming here.

  • Avatar osamu6238 says:

    sad it’s had to come to this. I support the players, but definitely will miss basketball. I don’t expect this to get resolved anytime soon. No one is going to want to be the first team back on that court until they know someone is listening to them.

  • Avatar osamu6238 says:

    Just cancel the season award the title by some random metric, let’s just say… point differential in the last game played. Done.

  • Avatar kylethepile says:

    Fellas, wouldn’t the prudent thing to do is wait until more information on this becomes available? It’s not like the news headlines have jumped the gun and presented a false narrative a million times over to divide the country..

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      Waiting for more facts to come out is a reasonable position to take.

      However, I also think there’s enough evidence out there to form a preliminary opinion, which is subject to change as more facts come out. I’m not afraid to admit I was wrong if necessary – wouldn’t be the first time.

      • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

        Nah man. Listen to Doc and others again especially the anger and emotion behind the message. This is more than just about Jacob Blake and the “facts.” Not trying to make this into a political manifesto but this type of rationilzation is what bolsters the status quo.

        • Avatar kylethepile says:

          This should be a dispassionate discussion based in fact and not emotion. I would be interested in discussing further perhaps on a different medium; I am curious as to your thoughts.

        • Avatar chogokin says:

          I get why they’re angry (we all should be), and I get what you’re saying here about the movement as a whole. I was talking about more facts coming out specifically just for the Jacob Blake incident by itself. I think the facts on the ridiculous number of other instances of police brutality we’ve seen recently are already firmly established.

  • Avatar Thretch says:

    As big of a fan as I am, and as much geeked out I am by the game 5 results … I just can’t focus on basketball right now. I support the protest to whatever length and breadth they take it.

    • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

      Same. And it’s made me revisit my own priorities. Here I was 24 hours ago being emotional about if the Clips would bounce back rather than about another incidence of rational injustice.

      One idea that would be powerful would be for all the remaining teams to leave the bubble to protest in Kenosha and Madison. Assuming they can effect change and not jeapardize their health, they could preserve the option to return to the bubble at some point. In the meantime, set up an escrow account funded by the top 10% players to support the lost salaries for the lowest 10%. So basically, Kawhi is looking out for TMann and Coffey’s livelihood and allowing all to follow their hearts and not bank accounts.

      • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

        Which, btw, I totally get is what the players are grappling with – that their play is potentially distracting from real engagement and action.

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    Same here. This is spreading to other sports. It’s an inflection point as they’re saying.