The NBA games today were boycotted by all teams in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake. The future of the NBA season is unclear as many players and teams are inclined not to play. The LA Lakers and the LA Clippers voted to boycott the season in an NBPA meeting late last night.
However, this is not the first time that NBA playoff games have been postponed. Let us take a look at the only two times in history before yesterday that NBA playoff games were postponed.
NBA playoff game postponed in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1962
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot in an event that shook the country. In the wake of his death, riots had erupted all over the country. Black communities all over the country were in despair and the NBA had to decide on whether or not to play.
The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers were taking each other on in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals the very next day. NBA and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell was distraught over the news of Dr. King's assassination. He contacted his friend, Philadelphia 76ers' star Wilt Chamberlain, and discussed how to proceed.
The teams ultimately decided to play in Game 1 after long discussions. While the atmosphere during the game was as electrifying as expected, many of the players look back at that game as one of the toughest games they have played.
Game 2, however, was postponed after an announcement of a day of mourning by then-president Lyndon B. Johnson. The series went on after the funeral of Dr. King. The Celtics went on to win the series 4-3 and eventually the NBA Championship as well.
Also Read: Why are NBA games being postponed?
The 1992 Rodney King riots caused NBA playoff games to be postponed
In 1992, Los Angeles was torn apart by riots in the aftermath of the brutal case of police violence against Rodney King. In the days after the court hearings of this polarizing case in April and May 1992, the NBA playoffs had to be postponed in Los Angeles. On April 29, 1992, the juries acquitted the police officers involved in the case.
Both the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers were both competing in the playoffs that season, and had to reschedule and relocate their games after riots broke out all over the city.
The LA Lakers relocated to Las Vegas to play out the rest of the series against the Portland Trail Blazers. The LA Clippers, on the other hand, moved their games to Anaheim, California in their series against the Utah Jazz. Both LA teams ended up losing in the first round of the NBA playoffs that year.
The events in the past few days are very similar to these previous instances where NBA playoff games have been postponed. Social justice and protests have been at the center of NBA games being postponed in each case. We await further news from the league regarding the plans for the playoffs.
Published 27 Aug 2020, 12:04 IST