In potentially bombshell news, reports emerged on Wednesday evening that LA Clippers players were among the two NBA teams that voted to go on strike for the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season.
The Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly the two teams that voted against continuing play, after the players went on strike for Wednesday’s games, in news first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Sources: The Lakers and Clippers have voted to boycott the NBA season. Most other teams voted to continue. LeBron James has exited the meeting.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2020
That report was subsequently repeated by Yahoo and TNT’s Chris Haynes:
The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers have voted to boycott the rest of the playoffs and were the first two teams to exit the meeting, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 27, 2020
Players went on strike Wednesday in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin by a police officer Sunday. The Black man was shot seven times in the back, leading to considerable outcry locally and nationally. In the aftermath, two protesters have been killed by a 17-year-old white civilian, who was not arrested until Wednesday afternoon. Following a press conference by Kenosha’s leaders in which they aimed to avoid speaking directly on the shootings, the Milwaukee Bucks opted to go on strike Wednesday ahead of their playoff game against the Orlando Magic, before the remaining teams scheduled to play Wednesday also went on strike in response. Thursday’s games, including the Clippers’ game agains the Dallas Mavericks, will also not be played.
A leaguewide meeting between the 13 teams left in the NBA playoffs was held in the Orlando bubble Wednesday evening, which reportedly lasted several hours.
Coaches were present for some of the meeting, with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and assistant coach Armond Hill among those speaking to the people assembled.
Doc Rivers, Armond Hill and John Lucas are among the coaches that spoke passionately tonight, per sources. Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, 'Melo, LeBron -- lot of voices being heard amongst the players.— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) August 27, 2020
Rivers reportedly urged players to continue to play to maintain their platform.
According to sources, Doc Rivers told the players you power is your talent, and guys should stay and play.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) August 27, 2020
Although reportedly only the two Los Angeles teams voted to stop play for the season, Charania reports the two teams literally walked out together, and Udonis Haslem told the rest of the players the season could not proceed.
Sources: Miami's Udonis Haslem spoke and essentially told everyone in room that -- without Lakers and Clippers, how will season continue?— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2020
LeBron James walked out. Rest of Lakers and Clippers exited behind him.
It’s worth noting an NBA Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, amid uncertainty about the next step for the NBA.
Told the players’ meeting ended "ugly," per a source, with uncertainty about what will happen tomorrow. The union will be present at the special Board of Governors meeting, per a source.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) August 27, 2020
While the situation remains very fluid, understandably, the Clippers have released a statement urging fans to reach out to Kenosha leaders to make changes, as well as a statement condemning the police shooting by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
We will continue to monitor this ongoing story and provide updates as we receive them.