NBA Playoff Games to Resume Following Michael Jordan Intervention

Earlier this week, NBA teams launched a wildcat strike in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, joining their action with the greater Black Lives Matter movement. In response, the league postponed the week’s playoff games and brought in representatives of the NBA Players Association and Michael Jordan, chairman of the NBA Labor Relations Committee, to speak with players and team governors aboutrelaunching the playoff games.

In a statement issued on August 27, the NBA explained that games will resume “either Friday or Saturday. There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps.” Considering that the talks are ongoing, the declaration may be premature, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski asserts that NBA players and owners alike voted to resume play following an initial video call.

Jordan, also the league’s only Black majority owner as the Charlotte Hornets owner, reportedly acted as a conduit to give owners a better perspective of the players’ positions. He also talked with the Houston Rockets’ Russell Westbrook about social justice concerns that stirred some players to consider boycotting the rest of the season. “Right now, listening is better than talking,” Jordan told the group. In line with other owners, he was in favor of continuing the season for sake of utilizing the games as a vehicle for social change and conversation.

According to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, only the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks voted as complete teams to end the season early. Sources tell Bleacher Report‘s Taylor Rooks that the Lakers’ LeBron James delivered a particularly poignant message to owners, some of whom do not support Black Lives Matter on the courts, reports claim. However, Bucks owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan clarified that “We fully support our players and the decision they made.”
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