After a two-day boycott spearheaded by the league's players in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the NBA postseason will resume on Saturday, the league announced on Friday. Coupled with the return of postseason play will be an increased effort on the league's behalf moving forward to work with the players to expand voting access and to amplify other social justice efforts.
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following joint statement:
"We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA 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 Orlando. All parties agreed to resume NBA playoff games on Saturday, Aug. 29 with the understanding that the league together with the players will work to enact the following commitments:
1. The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.
2. In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.
3. The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.
"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.
"We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together - in Orlando and in all NBA team markets - to push for meaningful and sustainable change."
With the boycott, the players took the world's focus off of on-court action and shifted it to the ongoing social inequality in the United States. While the idea of playing no further games this season was considered, ultimately the players decided that they should finish what they started in Orlando.
The league also announced the revised schedule for Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, Aug. 29
- Game 5 -- Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 5 -- Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets, 6:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
- Game 5 -- Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 9 p.m. ET (TNT)
Sunday, Aug. 30
- Game 1 -- Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 6 -- Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 6 -- Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz, 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
The playoffs will pick up where they left off. Thus far, three teams in the Eastern Conference -- the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Miami Heat -- have punched their ticket to the semifinals with first-round sweeps, while all four first-round series in the West are still taking place.
After the resumption of the 2019-20 season hung in the balance, it appears the league will continue its march toward crowning a champion.