The general story of how the Milwaukee Bucks came to a decision to not play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in late August following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Milwaukee has been known since it pretty much happened. But there were some previously unknown details about the emotional atmosphere of the locker room prior to the strike that guard Kyle Korver revealed in a recent interview.
The 39-year-old, speaking to his alma mater Creighton University, explained how assistant coach Darvin Ham was in tears following Blake's shooting that left the man paralyzed from the waist down. Korver said that Ham gave the team an impassioned speech about how he was thinking about his two sons who are in their 20s living in Milwaukee.
"I just sat there with tears running down my face," Korver said of that moment. "And I'm looking at my jersey that says 'Black Lives Matter,' and I'm like, 'What are we doing?' One teammate, George Hill, decided he wasn't going to play."
Sterling Brown, who currently has an open case against Milwaukee's police department in relation to being tasered in a parking lot despite not resisting arrest, followed Hill's statement, noting to his fellow teammates that they didn't have to follow their decision if they didn't want to, but he wasn't going to play either.
"We all just sat there and were like, 'We're all with you,'" Korver said.
He then went on to explain how he found a role in these kinds of conversations as a white man.
"It's always interesting for me as a white man in these spaces. What to do? How do I help as a white man? What do I say as a white man in this space?" Korver said. "You know what you do? You stand with the marginalized. And when you can, you amplify their voice, and you listen to their thoughts, and you listen to their ideas, and then you find your way to help out."
The Bucks' decision to not play their postseason game in protest led to other leagues, including the WNBA, as well as some MLB and MLS teams, opting not to play on the day of the strike. Games across the league were postponed for a couple days.