The Milwaukee Bucks have boycotted their Game 5 meeting with Orlando Magic amid the growing unrest following the Jacob Blake shooting, leading the NBA to postpone all three of the games scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
The Bucks are the NBA team closest in proximity to Kenosha in the state of Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot and injured by police on Sunday, sparking further clashes across the city.
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks warms up before the game during Round One, Game Five
Image credit: Getty Images
The players were in the locker room ahead of the game in Florida, having warmed up on court beforehand, but did not show when it was scheduled to start.
The NBA went on to confirm the game was postponed, along with Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets and LA Lakers vs Portland Trail Blazers.
The NBA tweeted:
The NBA and the NBPA today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – MIL-ORL, HOU-OKC and LAL-POR have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.
Lakers star LeBron James tweeted: "---- THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT"
Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the Women's NBA also postponed games, while two-times tennis Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka joined the protests by pulling out of a tournament after reaching the semi-finals.
Players: Our focus today cannot be on basketball
The Bucks players said in a statement they were unable to focus on basketball due to the events in Kenosha.
"Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin we have seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha and the additional shooting of protesters," they said.
"Despite the overwhelming plea for change there has been no action so our focus today cannot be on basketball."
Bucks coach: We're very disturbed by events
"Myself and our players and our organization are very disturbed by what's happening in Kenosha," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said earlier on Wednesday.
"It's a great challenge to have an appreciation and a desire for change and something different and better in Kenosha and Milwaukee and Wisconsin and then go out and play a game."
Reaction as players demand change
Eurosport stands against racial inequality and social injustice. In solidarity with the tennis community, we are pausing our tennis programming and content on all our platforms. Coverage will resume on Friday 28 August.