Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: For me, what really brought the he…

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: For me, what really brought the hearth fire of hope back to life was the instantaneous support of other sports teams and athletes. Major League Soccer, in which only 26% of players are black, postponed five games that day, with players from two teams, Inter Miami and Atlanta United, locking arms and refusing to play. Major League Baseball, with only about 8% African American players, also joined in with players from the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds sitting out their games and the Seattle Mariners voted unanimously to postpone their Wednesday game. More baseball teams joined the boycott on Thursday. In tennis, perhaps the whitest of all the sports, former US Open champion Naomi Osaka walked away from her semi-final match at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, tweeting, “I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction.” Professional tennis organizations USTA, ATP, and WTA issued a statement in support of her stance and postponed tournament play on Thursday. I have never been prouder of my athlete colleagues.

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LeBron James was one of the many players miffed with the Bucks’ handling of the situation as well, sources said. To him and so many others, it put them in a no-win situation. His frustration with Hill and the Bucks was because the players didn’t have a plan of action that would warrant players returning to play, sources said. James’ mindset, sources said, was if they’re refusing to play, then what’s the end game and what demands must be met to continue?
With emotions all over the place, Haslem pressed James and asked the star what he planned to do, reminding him that he’s the face of the league and it goes as he goes, sources said. James then said, “We’re out,” and walked out with almost all of his teammates following behind, sources said, with Dwight Howard being the only Laker who remained.
On the call, James was stern in calling on owners to do more in aiding the Black community and to play more of a role in using their resources to combat systemic racism, sources said. James had already told players he was in, but depending on how the meeting went with owners, he would have reversed course if things went sideways, sources said. After the meeting, James felt comfortable with returning to the court, sources said. Owners promised that they would get to work on real action items that would benefit the Black community, sources said.
LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers said his players are ready to continue the NBA postseason after "they thought it was over" following Wednesday's emotional players' meeting. "Oh, they want to," Rivers said when asked if his team is ready to move forward during an interview Thursday on Fox Prime Ticket. "They are really looking forward to it. Yesterday was a very difficult day though. Like their emotions were all over the place. "They thought it was over. It was just a really tough day for all of them."
Marc J. Spears: The @nbpa and @nba could be putting out a joint statement tonight following the conference call between the union and owners. They could be announcing a direct action plan that includes a push for police accountability, voting registration and support for the George Floyd Bill.
Taylor Rooks: Sources say Lebron James was the last player to speak on the call and he delivered a strong, thoughtful message to the owners. His main point was that the work has to continue, and the owners have to truly dedicate to advancing this cause.
Steve Ballmer: I am again angry over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake. Doc Rivers and the Bucks players said it well: We need real police accountability. Give citizens data to do so. Let's have criminal justice reform that keeps all people safe, but not senselessly imprisoned or afraid. Now is the time to research and vote for the mayors, council people, commissioners, legislators, governors, judges, prosecutors, and attorneys general who can make it happen. Now is the time to work out bipartisan national police reform.
Later Wednesday evening at 8:00, several of the league’s top NBPA player representatives, including Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala, spoke. Bucks forward Kyle Korver, Clippers players Patrick Beverley and Kawhi Leonard, and coaches Doc Rivers, Armond Hill, and John Lucas, Portland’s CJ McCollum and many others spoke. According to one source who was in the meeting, the major themes included voting, police brutality, and more direct action with owners. Another source said more open discussion got done once coaches left the players’ meeting. For reference, Rivers has spoken about players remaining in the bubble and using their platform to continue speaking on the issue of racism in the country.
There was a sense some players didn’t want to speak up around coaches, according to some in the meeting. Some players wanted to learn what the financial ramifications would be if the season was canceled. Players, including Boston’s Jaylen Brown, stressed the fight for justice is not over once the season concludes. Brown was also among the players who didn’t mind what the Bucks did. Other players would have preferred more transparency and a heads up for more of a united front. Looking ahead, players also emphasized figuring out a way to present that desired united front once they leave the bubble.
Despite strong feelings and tensions from players over racism in the country, one high-profile agent believed there was always a path to finishing the season if a sticking point is resolved. “Hopefully, there will be an appeasement if there is communication with the owners and the players to work together to get in front of politicians,” the agent told HoopsHype looking ahead. Another agent with multiple players remaining in the bubble who spoke to his players about the current situation said, “They seem like they want to continue playing.”
Nike Inc. on Thursday released a statement in support of the NBA and WNBA players who went on strike Wednesday in protest of the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by police in Wisconsin. Nike's endorsers include numerous NBA and WNBA athletes. The company's statement, in full: Nike stands in support of NBA and WNBA players and athletes across the sports community in their response to the senseless shooting of Jacob Blake. We remain committed to addressing the issue of systemic racism experience by the Black community.
When LeBron James and other players from the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers left the meeting room Wednesday night with the intention of not continuing to play in the bubble, José Juan Barea thought that the NBA season had just reached its end without completing the playoffs. “Yes, absolutely. When we went out like this, everyone thought we were going to go back to our homes”, admitted the veteran Dallas Mavericks point guard to El Nuevo Día in reference to the decisions of both teams to boycott the postseason.
In the afternoon, Barea said that they will decide when the postseason action will resume. “We are going to talk about the actions we will take to play again, and also to talk with the owners to help open the arenas for the elections (in November) to make the voting process easier. And also so that they speak with the chiefs of police in their states. The owners are very powerful people and they can make many things happen faster ”.
Taylor Rooks: Been told that Dwyane Wade has been actively involved and connected in the conversations/calls here in Orlando. Players actively seeking a variety of voices from inside and outside the bubble.
A recognizable figure has emerged as a go-between the NBA players and the owners: Michael Jordan. Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets -- and the only Black majority owner in the league -- reached out to National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul, league sources told ESPN, in advance of the owners meeting to get a better understanding of what the players hoped to achieve going forward and to offer assistance as they make their case to the NBA's board of governors. Jordan also spoke with Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook about issues of social justice that initially left some stars advocating for the cancellation of the season.
Many of the owners, including Jordan, sources said, favored continuing the season, believing that the games were still the best and most visible platform for social change. The owners will meet again later Thursday to discuss specific ways in which they can help the players meet their goals while continuing to compete for an NBA title, as well as to discuss the scheduling of the resumption of play in the bubble.

https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/1298786988833857537
In interviews today, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and the president's son-in-law, discounted the player strikes. "Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they're able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially," White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNBC. "So they have that luxury, which is great."
Alykhan Bijani: Tilman Fertitta says he disagrees with President Trump calling the NBA a political organization. “I think the #Rockets are a political organization...I think that is not a good statement. I don’t know why he made that statement. It’s disappointing.” pic.twitter.com/0zrMeVNjN3

http://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1299050153312227328
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?
Storyline: Players Boycott
More HoopsHype Rumors
September 17, 2021 | 5:16 pm EDT Update
The word in Spanish basketball circles, as reiterated to me Friday, is that Marc Gasol is most likely to play for Girona if he decides to play on, even though the LEB Oro is one level below Spain’s top tier. I’m told he has been working out with new Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio to stay sharp even after negotiating his release earlier this week from Memphis following the Grizzlies’ recent trade with the Lakers to take on the final year of Gasol’s last NBA contract.
Ballots for the NBA’s 75th anniversary team were due back to the league office today. The league previously announced that the official list of its 75 greatest players, as selected by “a blue-ribbon panel of media, current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives,” will be revealed in October. The voters will also be revealed — not their full individual ballots but the names of those who made the selections.

September 17, 2021 | 3:51 pm EDT Update