To help explain what happened and what might come next,…

More on Players Boycott

Even within these strange, sad times we’re living in, yesterday’s decision feels like it will echo for years to come. Just how historic was it? Len Elmore: From the standpoint of a unified position by a team, across leagues, it’s right up there with the assassinations of Dr. King and, before that even, JFK. How can you conduct sport when there’s so many larger, more significant things at hand? However, what makes this unprecedented is the fact that there’s a reason, a basis behind this. This is a protest of systemic racism catalyzed by another shooting of an unarmed Black man. We’ve never seen that. And it wasn’t spurred on by any kind of national power. This was done by the individual players, predominantly Black players, who are standing up and using their platform to make a statement. And the question is, will you sustain the impact or is this just a one-off thing that comes and goes?
Len Elmore: We have a country in upheaval. We have a situation where there are so many people in mourning—not the officials but those who participate, and it’s them who made this decision. That’s what makes this unprecedented.
Last night the league tweeted that the three playoff games have been “postponed” and will be rescheduled. Can you explain why they did this? Len Elmore: At this stage, they think that it bodes well to sympathize. Let’s see how long that lasts. The longer the players decide they’re not gonna play, the more you have an impact on the league and the owners, on their pocketbook and their profitability. If this thing lasts a week, two weeks, then it becomes a different story. This league right now is trying to maintain good will between those who are essentially adversarial, the union and management. But the longer they stay out, the more that good will dissipates.
NBA players voted to resume the playoffs in a meeting Thursday morning after walking out on Wednesday’s slate of games, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The agreement occurred at Disney’s Corona Springs Resort in a meeting that lasted a little less than an hour, sources said. It was the players’ second meeting in the last 15 hours.
Thursday’s scheduled playoff games will be postponed, sources said. In Wednesday night’s meeting, frustration mounted and tension grew among the players, who were irritated by a lack of strategic unity, sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers voted against resuming the playoffs last night and were the first two teams to exit the meeting, sources said.
“You’ve gotta respect the players,” Myers said. “They’re the ones putting themselves on the line here. And you have to respect that. And hopefully, it’s a message to all of us. This is not a fight they can win alone. It’s going to take everybody’s help. I commend them for putting themselves — you know, they’re the ones risking something right now. So I commend them for that.”
“I certainly know this, it gets people’s attention,” Myers said. “There’s a light. Players, listening to them, they’re the ones that are putting themselves on the line here. Mostly them. You have to respect their position, you have to respect their thoughts behind it. Just getting it in real-time and first hand, it’s just sad.
“Players want to play. You’ve gotta understand, this is not something I imagine they did light-heartedly or without thought or intention. You think players don’t want to play a playoff game? To have them take these steps, they’re hurting and that’s real. These guys probably have lived their whole lives dreaming … some of them … of playing in the playoffs for the first time, trying to win a championship. And to put that on hold, that’s a real statement. That tells you how much it means to them and you have to respect that.”
There is a sense of fatigue among many -- emotions spilling over from the trauma of watching the shooting on video, listening to the rhetoric of the Republican National Convention and players feeling like they're being held in captivity in the bubble. "I think there will be a chance for guys to have clearer heads on [Thursday] morning," one team executive said. "But none of us really know where this is headed."
Houston Rockets assistant coach John Lucas gave a stirring speech about how far players had come since the time he'd played in the NBA. "This is your moment," Lucas told them. He encouraged the players to speak to commissioner Adam Silver and the owners, and ask them to use their power to do more.
The league's owners had committed to contributing $300 million over the next 10 years to a foundation that would create economic opportunity and empowerment in the Black community. But sources said that at last month's board of governors meeting, owners had discussed whether to ask the National Basketball Players Association to contribute to that as well. "What is it they think the league can do?" one owner wondered. "We have been fully supportive."
gifdsports: Jaylen Brown reportedly challenged players who want to leave bubble and go home "If you leave, are you going to leave and hang out with your families?are you going to be in the trenches, are you going to be in the streets? (via @MarcJSpears )
Draymond Green: But why can sports wait? Because it’s a sport? It to is a business, like the many other businesses in the world. Why is it that sports can wait but other businesses should not? If that is the case why shouldn’t the CEO of YouTube boycott Alphabet? Or the President of Apple boycott the company? But you say basketball can wait... Is it because sports(the platform) has afforded the athletes involved such huge platforms? Or maybe the athletes involved past and present actually afforded sports those platforms, that the many athletes currently have today(that’s neither here nor there). The notion that athletes should just stop working but no one else in the world should stop is baffling to me.
Draymond Green: Why stop doing the very thing that offers you the biggest platform to speak for those that look like me/a lot of us. To do that is to actually give up the platform to speak for them, because without us using our platforms which is afforded by the influence of the sport, it actually stops us from echoing what those in the back are saying. Those people then will never truly be heard. Athletes stand with the people, no secret there, but to actually tell athletes to stop doing what provides that platform to speak for the people is actually counterproductive. In my opinion.
There will be another meeting on Thursday, a Board of Governors call, too, but it remains uncertain as to exactly what more the NBA can offer, nor is it clear how far players are willing to go. Walking away from the season would be a powerful statement, but would it achieve more than six weeks more of high-profile games and the eyeballs that come with them? Several players have expressed a need to do something tangible, to push issues forward. Will the attention gained from a two-day work stoppage achieve that?
Stephanie Ready: Sources told me NO games on Thursday, players meetings will continue.
Sam Amick: I would be very surprised if there’s games tomorrow. Sources also say that Udonis Haslem’s speech was powerful in today’s player meeting, offering perspective on how they shouldn’t take this Bubble opportunity for granted in terms of maximizing the platform.
Players demanded an action plan from ownership, sources told Sports Illustrated. Though to several in the room it was unclear exactly what action they wanted. Team owners have been supportive of players during this restart. They have allowed social justice messages on jerseys. They have supported kneeling during the national anthem. Earlier this month, the NBA announced it was committing $300 million to create economic empowerment in the black community. When the Bucks elected not to play, Milwaukee’s owners were the first to issue a strong statement of support.
An hour into the meeting, coaches were asked to leave so the players could hash things out. There was some frustration expressed at the Bucks for unilaterally initiating this walkout. Several players in the Thunder-Rockets game, scheduled to tip at 6:30, were warming up in the arena next door. At the end of the meeting, the Lakers and Clippers, two Western Conference powers, voted to stop playing. It’s unclear, however, if the teams were expressing that position as a starting point or if they were prepared to pack up and go home.
Vincent Goodwill: Sources to @YahooSports: There was frustration with Milwaukee players for doing this without talking to others. LeBron James initially stated he would go with the consensus, then got angry and stormed out.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: As some in tonight's meeting wanted to hear Bucks' explanation for making an abrupt decision independent of rest of teams to boycott game, Boston's Jaylen Brown essentially said that the Bucks didn't need to explain themselves and he fully supported what they did today.
Marc J. Spears: The NBA players opened the meeting on Wednesday night watching a Zoom call with Jacob Blake's family members, sources said. The call was eventually abandoned with muted family members looking at the players due to audio issues.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers were against finishing the NBA restart, two people familiar with Wednesday night’s players meeting told USA TODAY Sports. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive nature of the situation. NBA players and coaches met for more than two hours to discuss next steps after the Milwaukee Bucks chose not to take the floor for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, leading to the postponement of the rest of Wednesday's playoff games.
Sam Amick: Sources also say that Kyle Korver apologized for the way the Bucks made the decision not to play without alerting other teams. This element has clearly frustrated teams around the league, and Korver made the choice to address it.
When Milwaukee Bucks players were able to speak to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on Wednesday, they had one main goal. "They just wanted to know what they could do," Barnes told ESPN. "They were very interested in a call to action. They wanted something tangible that they could do in the short and long term. They wanted the walkout [from Wednesday's game against the Orlando Magic] to be Step 1." Barnes told them that the most important thing they could press for is "for action at every level of government."
Vincent Goodwill: Source to @yahoosports: “This is Lord of the Flies now- 2020 edition” A lot of tension between players, It’s been building from inside the bubble
TheBillRussell: I’m moved by all the @NBA players for standing up for what is right. To my man @TheJetOnTNT I would like to say Thank you for what you did to show your support for the players. I am so proud of you. Keep getting in good trouble. @NBAonTNT @ESPNNBA @espn #NBAPlayoffs ✊🏿
Dave McMenamin: A league source in the bubble tells ESPN there was “no sense of accomplishment” now that tonight’s meeting has been adjourned. Added that the feeling of “uncertainty” will remain until tomorrow’s emergency 11 a.m. ET Board of Governors meeting occurs.
Senator Jeff Markley: I stand with the @trailblazers to say that #BlackLivesMatter. Bravo to our Blazers who are using the power of their platform to fight for justice.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Discussions on continuing season will extend into tomorrow, sources tell ESPN, but appears unlikely the three playoff games on Thursday will be played. "Everyone is still too emotional," one high-ranking source tells ESPN. "There needs to be more time to come together on this."
Keith Pompey: According to sources, Doc Rivers asked #Bucks went into their decision, because none of the other players/teams were aware. The room wasn't mad at the Bucks. People were just caught off guard and because of that, the room wanted to make sure everyone was unified going forward.
Keith Pompey: According to sources, Kyle Korver spoke for the #Bucks, Milwaukee admitted it didn't know what to do next. But the Bucks did speak to the state's attorney general and found out that the state legislative branch hasn't met in 4 months.
Keith Pompey: Michelle Roberts said to play now or not play now will have no bearings on a possible lockout and that the next CBA negotiation will be tough. So making a decision to play or not play can't guarantee the tough negotiations to come, according to sources.
Shams Charania: Sources: Every team besides Lakers and Clippers voted to continue playing. LeBron James said in meeting he want owners to be more involved/take action.
Shams Charania: Sources: Miami's Udonis Haslem spoke and essentially told everyone in room that -- without Lakers and Clippers, how will season continue? LeBron James walked out. Rest of Lakers and Clippers exited behind him.
Chris Mannix: Lot of conversation tonight, but some of the strongest voices on shutting down the returned season have been coming from two teams, per sources: The Bucks and Raptors. Blake shooting happened in Milwaukee's backyard. Raps have experienced this, and Masai body cam footage. Heavy.
Chris Mannix: In meeting, players are demanding an action plan, sources told @SInow. They want to see something from NBA owners. Meeting has been led by Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala, though many other players are speaking.
Chris Mannix: 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: After inviting coaches in to discuss the next steps, the players are meeting privately, league sources told @SInow. Multiple sources in the room came away still unsure of how players would move forward.
Storyline: Players Boycott
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October 16, 2021 | 12:01 pm EDT Update
Joining Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s ‘All the Smoke’, the three-time All-star talked about how things started when he was still up and coming into the league. “Our relationship was definitely strained at the end. I think I held onto that rookie year, not starting — how he didn’t really play me, and would play me a couple of minutes here. I think I took that personally for a while when I was younger and kind of held that grudge. So, I think that affected me a little bit.”
Williams further admitted that at certain times, it was his fault for being a stubborn one. “I was definitely a little s*** at times — a little prima donna. I also, I knew how coach Sloan was, and I think I kind of would poke the bear just to see his reactions, too. It was kind of like a little back and forth thing; s*** that I definitely wouldn’t do now, knowing what I know now. But I always respected coach Sloan; I learned a lot from him. My best years were definitely in Utah. I got a lot of love and respect for him as a coach and as a person.”
The 37-year-old former point guard finally revealed that he fixed what was broken with him and the coaching icon a few years back before its death. “I always knew I needed to reach out and apologize. He was definitely regressing a little bit. And our conversations were kind of, they actually got heated a couple times — well he got heated a couple times. It was almost like he was right back in the moment when I pissed him off. But I was happy I was able to get a chance before he passed, to talk with him and apologize for being a little s***.”
October 16, 2021 | 11:44 am EDT Update