The NBA Playoffs came to an abrupt halt earlier this week when the Milwaukee Bucks staged a walkout to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin who has reportedly been left paralyzed after officers fired at him seven times at close range.
In the wake of the wildcat strike, the players, the players’ union, and the owners held several meetings, both privately and with one another to determine the best way forward and exert pressure on the Board of Governors to come up with a concrete plan that would help enact concrete social justice reform.
The league announced the specifics of that plan on Friday, which includes, among other things, the use of team-owned arenas as voting locations in the coming elections, targeted ads and commercials designed to educate the public on social justice initiatives, and the earmarking of funds to put toward programs in education and civil relief in poor, minority communities across the country.
Prior to this outcome, it emerged that LeBron James and a group of players had reached out to former President Barack Obama for advice on how to best proceed with a plan that would prompt meaningful change. Later on Friday, Obama’s office released this statement on their conversation.
Statement from President Obama’s office on conversations with LeBron James and co: pic.twitter.com/87VdRKCrdN
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) August 29, 2020
On the heels of the league’s renewed emphasis on social reform, the players announced that they would resume the NBA Playoffs where they left off on Saturday with the three-game slate that was originally scheduled for Wednesday, as well as an updated schedule for Sunday. They’ve since released the new schedules for Monday and Tuesday, so after a brief hiatus and a serious gut check on its priorities, the NBA is back in full swing in Orlando.