Inside the NBA players' Wednesday night meeting to decide the future of the playoffs
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — NBA players held a meeting for nearly three hours at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort on Wednesday night to discuss whether to finish the remainder of the postseason, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers voted to walk out on the remainder of the postseason and were the first two teams to exit the meeting, sources said.
LeBron James left an impression among those who attended the meeting that he would prefer to end the season, sources said. Clippers star Kawhi Leonard made it known that he’s all for walking out and returning home, sources said.
The players scheduled a meeting for 11 a.m. ET Thursday to flesh out the details and possibly make a final decision on the future of the postseason, sources said.
Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back multiple times on Sunday by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as he tried to get into his vehicle, and the incident was captured on video. His three sons — ages 3, 5, and 8 — were in the vehicle during the incident, his family’s attorney said.
Multiple players voiced their opinion, and as passionate dialogue filled the meeting, tensions heated up at times, sources said. At one point, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley called out union leadership for a lack of transparency, sources said.
Players were frustrated the Bucks opted to walk out of Wednesday’s first-round Game 5 against the Orlando Magic without informing the union or the Magic, sources said. The argument was that it put the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers — who were scheduled to play Wednesday— in a difficult situation as the fate of the day’s slate of games hung in the balance, sources said.
Union leadership would have rather released a joint statement announcing that players had chosen not to take the court, sources said.
The Bucks felt an obligation to spearhead the walkout because the Blake shooting occurred in their backyard.
James was also critical of NBA ownership, suggesting owners haven’t done enough to support players and Black people facing systemic racism, sources said.
Coaches and players started the meeting together for the first 90 minutes, and then coaches were excused, sources said.
Whatever the players decide, it will have far-reaching ramifications across society and the sports landscape.
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