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Doc Rivers nearly broke down as he expressed the fear he feels being Black in America

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Clippers coach joins NBA players in reacting to shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Before the LA Clippers’ Game 5 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Doc Rivers was asked if he had any comments on the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

Rivers said he would share his thoughts after the game — and when he did, he was overcome with emotion about the state of being Black in the United States.

Blake underwent surgery Tuesday and his family says he is now paralyzed from the waist down, CNN reported. His shooting has sparked nationwide demonstrations, with protesters demanding police reform.

Rivers wasn’t the only member of the NBA family to have a strong reaction to the shooting. George Hill and the Milwaukee Bucks spoke about Blake earlier on Monday, and Chris Paul began his on-court postgame interview by sending his prayers to Blake’s family. LeBron James said during his postgame about how Black people feel like they’re being hunted.

ESPN reported that the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics had discussed how they should respond to another event of police brutality, and Jaylen Brown, who organized a protest in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, had similar sentiments to Rivers about how Black people are viewed in this country.

Fred VanVleet said that the players have considered a boycott of the first game of the conference semifinals.

“So, for example, this happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, if I’m correct? Would it be nice if, in a perfect world, we all say we’re not playing, and the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks — that’s going to trickle down. If he steps up to the plate and puts pressure on the district attorney’s office, and state’s attorney, and governors, and politicians there to make real change and get some justice.

“I know it’s not that simple. But, at the end of the day, if we’re gonna sit here and talk about making change, then at some point we’re gonna have to put our nuts on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility. I’m just over the media aspect of it. It’s sensationalized, we talk about it every day, that’s all we see, but it just feels like a big pacifier to me.”

Rivers was asked about a potential boycott, and he reiterated the stance that he had voiced back in 2014. He doesn’t believe that outside forces — not Donald Sterling then, and not cops now — should get in the way of his players’ dreams or his own dream of winning an NBA title.

When the league was figuring out plans for a restart, several players considered whether playing was the correct move given the social justice movements that were taking place across the country. It has to be hard for them to see regular reminders of what they are fighting against, knowing that they are limited in what they can do because they are in the bubble. The league and the players decided that their collective platform could still help lead to change; unfortunately, they have another opportunity in this moment to put that to use.

More news for Wednesday:

Today’s Playoff Games

Time Away Home TV Series
Time Away Home TV Series
3:30 p.m. Milwaukee Miami TNT MIA 2-0
6:00 p.m. Houston Lakers ESPN Game 1