The Milwaukee Bucks led the way for the first players' boycott of NBA playoff games in the history of the league, refusing to get out of their locker rooms ahead of Game 5 against the Orlando Magic. Their decision to sit out caused a domino effect as the other 4 teams scheduled to play Wednesday joined their strike.
LeBron James, LA Lakers vote to sit out, Patrick Beverley acts as a nuisance
NBA officials tried to intervene and the 13 teams present in the bubble had a meeting late on Wednesday. Tempers flared high as many of the players, including LeBron James and Patrick Beverley, were incensed with the unilateral decision of the Milwaukee Bucks to strike.
Patrick Beverley acted in unruly fashion during the meeting. While other players aimed to resolve the issue as soon as possible, Patrick Beverley focused on putting Michele Roberts down. The executive director of the NBPA had to face the ignominy of listening Patrick Beverley tell her that she owed her salary to him.
Senior players Chris Paul, Udonis Haslem and several others understandably lambasted Patrick Beverley's childish behaviour in such a serious situation. In a preliminary poll on the day, the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers were the only teams to vote against the resumption of the season. LeBron James led a walkout by the LA Lakers.
Lakers and Clippers led by LeBron James rejoin the fray
Chris Paul and LeBron James bore the brunt of the burden of having to decide the course of action for the rest of the league. The two 35-year-olds, who have long been the key player representatives in the NBPA, talked late into Wednesday night about how to get the LA Lakers, the LA Clippers and the rest of the NBA on the same page.
The following day, the LA Lakers and LeBron James arrived 45 minutes late to the players' meeting. This was caused partly by the whole team having to stay up late into the night for deliberation. But both the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers agreed to get on the same terms as the rest of the league, and the meeting ended on a positive note in quicksilver fashion.
The players also had a Zoom meeting with team owners of the franchises remaining in the playoffs. Michael Jordan was also present, and he was passionate in imploring the players to do their part on court while the owners stood up against systemic racism.
Published 28 Aug 2020, 12:20 IST