The Orlando Magic headed to the court on Wednesday to warm up for a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the team returned to the locker room with just under four minutes remaining until the scheduled start. The reason is that the Bucks were in the locker room to boycott the playoff game following the shooting of Jacob Blake — a Black man — by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Reports surfaced before the game that the Bucks planned on boycotting Wednesday's game. NBA officials headed to meet with the team while the Magic returned to their respective locker room. However, the executives remained in the hallway, having discussions instead of heading inside. The buzzer ultimately sounded to start the game, but the referees were the only figures standing on the court.
The Bucks still haven't come out to the court for Game 5 and the Magic have left the court. pic.twitter.com/tA6pSaXGsM— ESPN (@espn) August 26, 2020
While questions swirled about whether the team would head to the court or remain away, sources did provide an answer. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bucks would indeed be boycotting the game. Video footage also surfaced on Twitter that showed court workers putting the game balls away.
Wojnarowski continued to report that the Bucks made the decision due to Blake's shooting in Wisconsin. The team previously released a statement in the aftermath of the incident and condemned the police officers' actions. "Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We stand firmly against reoccurring issues of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the Black community." Team member George Hill also said that the players should not have gone to Orlando.
Before the Bucks decided to boycott Wednesday's game, both the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics discussed doing something similar. The two teams have a game on Thursday to kick off the second round of the playoffs, but this matchup may not take place. A boycott is not confirmed, but the players did make it clear that this was an option.
"It's been talked about," Norman Powell said about the boycott, per Sportsnet. "There are a lot of things that are being talked about in how to approach this sensitive issue. I think everybody's at the point of sitting up here and saying Black Lives Matter and sitting up having discussions and Zoom calls and this, that and the other, putting apparel on, that's not getting the job done. Taking the knee from the anthem, that's not getting the job done. It's starting to get washed out.
"I feel like Black Lives Matter is just another part of [the] conversation now because you see it so much. It's everywhere. Now it's just in the daily conversation. It's kind of getting to the point where I see Black Lives Matter, and it's an everyday thing [but] something has to happen to where you are forcing those people who can affect and make the change to do something."