The NBA Playoffs will resume after players voted to keep the season alive

Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz teams kneel during the National Anthem in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Aug 25, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz teams kneel during the National Anthem in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

After seeing the video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times in front of his three children by officer Rusten Sheskey the Kenosha police department in Wisconsin, the players of the National Basketball Association were shaken to their core once again.

For nearly two months, many NBA players have attempted to use their platform from the Orlando bubble during the resumption of the NBA season as a jumping-off point to create sustained and actionable changes for black and brown Americans who have been neglected by their government for as long as the United States has had its own sovereignty.

But as the video of Jacob Blake being paralyzed by the police found its way to social media, suddenly their attempts to cause actionable change from the NBA bubble in Orlando were in doubt. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, players questioned if they should have ever chosen to play in this resumption of the NBA season.

That is when the Milwaukee Bucks — who play just an hour from Kenosha, Wisconsin where Jacob Blake was shot by officer Rusten Sheskey — refused to leave their locker room to participate in Game 5 of their first round series against the Orlando Magic, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

That strike — not boycott — against racism and police brutality sent shockwaves through the NBA, every sports league, and the entire country. The rest of the NBA postseason games on Wednesday night were postponed due to the players strike and that led into Thursday’s slate of playoff games also being postponed. Athletes in Major League Baseball also followed the path the Bucks created when the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds choosing to not to play in solidarity with the NBA in addition to the San Francisco Giant and Los Angeles Dodgers, who followed suit shortly after. As they always have done, the women of the WNBA made sure to stand in solidarity with their male counterparts as well. The Atlanta Dream arrived to their game each wearing one letter from Jacob Blake’s name with seven holes in the back of their shirts to represent the seven bullets that were fired into Jacob Blake’s back by Kenosha police offender Rusten Sheskey. Additionally, multiple NFL teams cancelled their practices. Tennis star Naomi Osaka also chose to make a stand not participate in a Women’s Tennis Association tournament as a form of protest.

“Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach,” Osaka tweeted. “When will it ever be enough?”

So with the protests in full swing, what comes next? On Thursday morning, the NBA players voted to continue the playoffs according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, but the resumption of the playoffs will likely not begin until Saturday which gives the players, owners, and everyone else involved more time to create an actionable plan to create the type of change they are looking for in the world.

Just because players have chosen to resume the postseason does not mean a future strike is impossible. Essentially, the players in the NBA just showed every professional athlete that they can bring the sports world to a halt at any moment if the people in power refuse to do what is right. If suddenly things are not moving in the correct direction, the players still have the power to strike once again to get their point across. That is powerful and undeniable at this point.

So for now, the players in the bubble, the National Basketball Players Association, and the Governors of each NBA team will work together for the next two days to find a way to create the change the United States of America needs. There is no indication how that change will come about at this juncture, but the next 36 hours of discussions will likely shine a light on the plans being enacted by the players and the NBA itself.

For the Denver Nuggets in particular, they will likely resume their first-round playoff series against the Jazz on Sunday. Denver currently trails the Jazz 3-2 in the series and will need two-straight wins in order to reach the second-round of the postseason.

The time of that game is still to be determined.

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