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.