The NBA and National Basketball Players Association released a joint statement Friday announcing that the NBA playoffs will resume on Saturday and that the league and its players will work together on several initiatives to promote voting access, combat social injustice and racial inequality and advocate for police reform.
“We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality.” Among others, the attendees included player and team representatives of all 13 teams in the bubble.
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in the statement.
“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together in Orlando and in all team markets to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
The league announced the weekend schedule on Friday afternoon. Saturday’s schedule is as follows: Orlando Magic–Milwaukee Bucks at 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN); Oklahoma City Thunder–Houston Rockets at 6:30 p.m. ET ; and Portland Trail Blazers–Los Angeles Lakers at 9 p.m. ET. Each is a first-round Game 5.
On Sunday, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors open their second-round series at 1 p.m. ET, followed by a LA Clippers–Dallas Mavericks first-round Game 6 at 3:30 p.m. ET and a Denver Nuggets–Utah Jazz first-round Game 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
As part of our commitment to fighting voter suppression and empowering all citizens to determine meaningful progress, @theforum will serve as an official Vote Center where voters can vote in person or drop off mail-in ballots for the 2020 election.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) August 28, 2020
Some teams including the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons Sacramento Kings, Rockets, Charlotte Hornets and Utah Jazz had already announced that their arenas will be available to be used as voting locations in November.
The NBA also agreed to work with the players and with its broadcast partners to create advertising that will appear during each NBA playoff game to promote greater civic engagement in national and local elections, and to raise awareness about voting access.
The joint statement was issued two days after the Bucks chose to refuse to play in Wednesday’s playoff game against the Magic in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Teams returned to practice on Friday in preparation for a return to the court this weekend.
The Bucks’ decision began a movement that spread not only to the other teams inside the NBA‘s bubble but also to several other sports leagues, including the WNBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, WTA and the NHL.
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