The 2019-20 NBA season now appears possible to end, or at least be delayed significantly, with a boycott as a meeting on Thursday night between the playoff teams in Orlando closed with the Lakers and Clippers voting to stop play in light of the Jacob Blake shooting in Keonsha, WI.
According to the Athletic, the players held a vote after coaches left the room at a hotel on the NBA's campus in Orlando. The Lakers and Clippers voted for the season boycott, which clearly sent a strong message, as they are on the shortlist of teams expected to contend for the championship. Other teams reportedly voted to continue playing.
The impromptu meeting was held at the end of a historic day for the league in which three playoff games were postponed due to a protest by the players. It began when the Milwaukee Bucks did not walk out onto the floor for their game against the Orlando Magic. The Thunder and Rockets then followed suit for their game, and then the Lakers and Blazers did the same.
The league's board of governors is now set to discuss the path forward on a conference call Thursday morning. But given the news of Wednesday night, it does not seem likely the season will be resumed anytime soon.
The NBA had executed their restart plan at Disney World for nearly a month during a coronavirus outbreak around the world and civil unrest around the nation. Amidst all of it was an ongoing conversation led by the players on social justice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
There was concern all along from the players that basketball would create an unnecessary distraction from current events. They made a wide array of efforts to raise awareness. But the shooting of Blake by a police officer, which was captured on video, put all of that to the ultimate test.
Now, it appears a group of players are ready to take a historic stand in solidarity, showing the ongoing matters of racial injustice in the United States are of bigger importance than basketball.