Milwaukee Bucks march for George Floyd. AP photo
Declaring "some things are bigger than basketball" in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake and too many more, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their latest NBA playoff game in a wildcat strike that quickly swept through the ranks of other largely black sports teams, virtually shutting down pro sports in what some called "a huge cultural inflection point." The historic NBA boycott, the first in 60 years, came as Trump said he would send federal troops to "restore LAW and ORDER!" to Kenosha WI, where Blake was shot seven times in the back as his kids watched and screamed, because to an ever-blindly-racist GOP, LAW and ORDER means cracking down on black protesters but abetting the crimes of white killer cops and vigilantes. In many ways, the initial Bucks walkout seems pretty predictable: Blake was shot just a few dozen miles from their training facility, in 2018 their forward Sterling Brown was tased and arrested by Milwaukee police who were never charged, and the NBA has a long history of activism, from basketball players donning “I can’t breathe” t-shirts for Eric Garner to marching in George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests to setting up racial justice non-profits like megastar LeBron James' More Than a Vote. The team was scheduled to play the Orlando Magic Wednesday in their playoff series when they failed to emerge from the locker room; when shortly after, they officially declared they would not play, the Magic said they wouldn't accept the Bucks' forfeit in solidarity. That sense of a shared trauma and mission in the wake of it swiftly spread; tweeted one Bucks executive, "Some things are bigger than basketball. Enough is enough - change needs to happen."
"It’s amazing we keep loving this country and this country doesn’t love us back." - Clippers' coach Doc Rivers in a raw, mournful "thunderbolt cry for justice."
LeBron James and the Lakers argued, "We are all Trayvon."
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James speaks up for Eric Garner
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