Doc Rivers lauded the "phenomenal" NBA players after they agreed a return to action following the Milwaukee Bucks' strike, a pause in play the Los Angeles Clippers coach felt was vital.

Games on Wednesday and Thursday were postponed after the Bucks decided to sit out of Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic.

The demonstration was made in protest against police brutality and racial inequality after Jacob Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Milwaukee's home state of Wisconsin.

As the Bucks' stance garnered support around the league, initial reports from the NBA bubble in Orlando suggested the season could be halted as a result.

But the NBA and NBPA have announced plans to return on Saturday based on commitments from the league that placed a particular emphasis upon enabling voter participation in the 2020 general election this November.

Clippers coach Rivers, who was praised for his emotional words on Blake's shooting earlier this week, told reporters following confirmation of the resumption plans: "The players were phenomenal.

"I was fortunate enough that they invited me to sit in on meetings and, just as a fly on the wall, I was so impressed with them. At the meeting last night, I was really impressed."

Support of Black Lives Matter has been a constant since the NBA season returned amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the death of George Floyd in police custody in May bringing the movement to the fore.

Citing Floyd's final words as a police officer knelt on his neck - "I can't breathe" - Rivers felt it was important the players had time after the Bucks' unprecedented strike to consider a route forward with their aims for social change.

"Just because something hasn't happened doesn't mean it can't happen," he explained. "Don't give into something that hasn't happened. Keep pushing, keep working.

"The key to this thing is that I think we all needed to take a breath. We needed a moment to breathe.

"It's not lost on me that George Floyd didn't get that moment. But we did, and we took it, and the players took it.

"And they got to refocus on the things that they wanted to focus on outside of their jobs.

"Then they voiced it, they organised it, they got it together, they understood they can't do everything on their own. We all need help to get things done. They went out and they got that help as well.

"The pride to be in the NBA is very high for me. I slept very well last night, thinking that our young people spoke. That was fantastic."

The NBA playoffs will return on Saturday after a "productive conversation" amid protests that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday were postponed following the Milwaukee Bucks' decision to go on strike before Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic.

The Bucks took a stand after Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in the team's home state of Wisconsin.

Players around the league backed Milwaukee's stance, the latest demonstration against police brutality and racial inequality, with the Black Lives Matter movement coming to the fore in May when George Floyd died in police custody.

Several other sporting events followed the NBA's lead and were postponed as players protested, but the playoffs will now resume this weekend.

The NBA and NBPA released a joint statement on Friday and detailed a "candid, impassioned and productive conversation" between players, coaches and teams, which placed a particular emphasis upon enabling voter participation in the 2020 general election this November.

The Saturday restart was agreed "with the understanding that the league together with the players will work to enact the following commitments," the statement read.

"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.

"In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the area property, the 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.

"The league will work with the players and 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."

It added: "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."

The Bucks' strike took place four years to the day since Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem before a preseason NFL game to demonstrate against the same issues.

Sports stars around the world - including at each game in the NBA bubble - have knelt for the anthem since Floyd's death.

The NBA playoffs will return on Saturday after "productive conversation" amid protests that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said his players thought the NBA season was over following Wednesday's boycotts.

All three playoff games were postponed midweek amid protests over racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the United States, after the Milwaukee Bucks opted not to play Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Orlando Magic.

The NBA also postponed Thursday's scheduled matchups, including the Clippers' Game 6 Western Conference meeting with the Dallas Mavericks at Walt Disney World Resort.

A Friday or Saturday resumption is hoped within the league, as Rivers said his players are ready to continue the postseason following an emotional meeting in Orlando, Florida.

When asked if the Clippers – who lead the Mavericks 3-2 in the series – are ready to move forward, Rivers told Fox Prime Ticket: "Oh, they want to.

"They are really looking forward to it. Yesterday was a very difficult day though. Like their emotions were all over the place.

"They thought it was over. It was just a really tough day for all of them."

On the Bucks' decision to boycott Wednesday's clash having been on the cusp of the second round, Rivers said: "I loved it.

"I wish, obviously, they would've alerted all the players so they wouldn't have been blindsided by it, but I thought the action was the right action, especially because of who it was.

"I thought the one team that had to take action immediately was Milwaukee, if we were gonna take action at all, and again that's our choice."

With teams based in the Orlando bubble amid the coronavirus pandemic, Rivers added: "I do think being here, you feel like you are doing work but you don't see the work, you don't know what you are doing.

"Because you are in this bubble so you are kind of away from the real world. I thought some of the guys voiced that they know they are doing the right thing here, they know that they have a platform here but they just feel like they are not part of the movement in here. Because they don't see the results that all the things they've been saying has actually done [something] because they are in here."

United States president Donald Trump labelled the NBA a "political organisation" amid protests against racial injustice.

The NBA saw three play-off games postponed on Wednesday and another three on Thursday as players protest in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

Asked for his reaction to the protest, Trump accused the NBA of turning into a political body.

"I don't know about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are tired of the NBA frankly," he told reporters.

"But I don't know too much about the protest, but I know their ratings have been very bad and that's unfortunate.

"They've become a political organisation and that's not a good thing for sports or the country."

While games have been postponed, the NBA playoffs are expected to resume in the coming days.

The NBA hopes to resume the playoffs from Friday or Saturday after confirming Thursday's games will not take place.

All three games on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the United States.

The decision came after the Milwaukee Bucks opted to boycott Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic.

The remaining games, between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers, were also called off as players across the league posted messages in support of the Bucks' stance.

The NBA has also postponed Thursday's planned games and confirmed a conference call between players and team governors will be held "to discuss next steps".

NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement on Thursday: "NBA playoff games for today will not be played as scheduled.

"There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labour Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps."

The scheduled games for Thursday in Orlando were the Denver Nuggets against the Utah Jazz, the Boston Celtics versus the Toronto Raptors, and the Los Angeles Clippers against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Milwaukee Bucks restarted a fierce discussion about sports and politics on Wednesday evening after they boycotted their Eastern Conference first-round playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

Their boycott comes in the aftermath of yet another police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Blake is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.

It would not have been easy for the Wisconsin-based team to have made this decision which will hit the bottom line of broadcasters, the league itself, their team and eventually, the players.

In June, the Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving led a conference call involving 80 players and vehemently argued against the league’s restart once the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the United States. His drive was to highlight the plight of Black America as they protested the killing of George Floyd another unarmed black man, murdered by a police officer who had a knee on his neck on a road in Minneapolis.

However, his call against the restart came at a time when the NBA was already on pause because of the coronavirus and a boycott would not have made the same kind of impact it would at this point in time.

Kyrie who is vice president of the National Basketball Players Association was right about one thing, playing games wouldn’t have solved the problems of racial injustice. However, boycotting the league then, wouldn’t have had the same result either.

Quite possibly a more perfect opportunity would have been boycotting the finals, whether it would have been the conference finals or the actual NBA finals. But the recent incidents have brought forward this latest action by the players and it now seems more appropriate to impose their will and send the strongest-possible message.

Let’s also be blunt about another point re Kyrie Irving. His worldwide view hasn’t always been spherical, but this is a different sphere. Any boycott with him as the face or voice would have been met with derision and a huge lack of credibility. And the importance of that moment, that movement and that effort would have been lost. Of course, every voice matters when it comes to the cause of racial equality. However, any charge and any course of action must be strategic, surgical and full of thought. And the messenger must be as solid as the message.

I don’t think the players would have boycotted these games if there was compassion from the current occupant in the White House.

Let’s also be fair, extra-judicial killings of unarmed black people have been going on for a while. And while there was a sense of empathy coming from the previous President of the USA, there now appears to be apathy from the current administration on this matter.

The US elections are in November, and the new NBA season is set to begin December 1. This boycott is poised to strongly push a referendum against President Donald Trump, and it is coming two months before voters go to the polls. This is now strategic.

In a couple of months we will know if it works, but there should be no going back for the players like the NBA announced earlier today. If they are going to risk it… risk it all.

It appears the mindset of the Los Angeles teams is one of the same at the moment as there are reports that both the Lakers and Clippers voted to quit the postseason.

My first article spoke about black athletes being more than their talent, and they should utilize their platforms to speak out in a society which finds it difficult to adapt to a more inclusive way.

Another moment has been introduced to opportunity.

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will leave the NBA bubble in Orlando for further examination of his injured right knee. 

Lillard was on Tuesday listed as out for Game 5 against the Los Angeles Lakers the following day, as a second MRI scan confirmed he had a sprain. 

The five-time All-Star suffered the injury in the third quarter of Monday's 135-115 loss to the Lakers in Game 4, as the eighth-seeded Portland fell 3-1 behind in the best-of-seven series. 

Lillard averaged 30.0 points, 8.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in the regular season, while he was averaging 24.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds in the playoffs. 

He will undergo further assessment of his injury in Portland, with no time frame for his potential return to action supplied. 

"Damian Lillard will leave the NBA campus in Orland on Thursday and return to Portland for further examination of his injured right knee," the Trail Blazers tweeted. 

"Lillard's availability to return to the Orlando campus is yet to be determined. Further updates will be provided as necessary."

Wednesday's meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers was postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their Game 5 against the Orlando Magic. The Houston Rockets' clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder was also called off. 

The Bucks made the decision not to take the floor after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the team's home state. 

Blake's family say he has been left paralysed from the waist down and the incident, footage of which was shared on social media, has led to further protests against racial injustice in the United States. 

They follow demonstrations across the globe in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Barack Obama, Billie Jean King and LeBron James led rallying calls on a seismic day in American sport, as games were called off in protest at racial injustice.

In a forceful message, athletes and teams downed tools in North America as they boycotted scheduled fixtures following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by police in the state of Wisconsin.

Blake was shot several times in the back, prompting nationwide protests.

All three NBA playoff games set for Wednesday were postponed, and it was reported widely that players from the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers were in favour of boycotting the rest of the season.

The NBA board of governors were set for a Thursday meeting, with players also reportedly due to hold a follow-up to their Wednesday get-together.

Major League Baseball saw three games postponed, namely those between the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, and Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres.

Five of six Major League Soccer games also did not go ahead, while Thursday's play at the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament in New York was suspended, with Naomi Osaka pulling out of the tournament after reaching the semi-finals.

Former US president Obama saluted the Milwaukee Bucks for boycotting Game 5 in their series against the Orlando Magic.

Milwaukee is the nearest major city to Kenosha, where Blake was shot. Obama also saluted Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who criticised President Donald Trump when he spoke powerfully on Tuesday. Rivers accused the Republican Party of "spewing this fear".

Obama wrote on Twitter: "I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It's going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values."

Speaking earlier in the day, Lakers superstar James wrote on Twitter: "F*** THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT".

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer added: "I am again angry over the shooting of a black man #JacobBlake. @DocRivers and The @Bucks players said it well, we need real police accountability. Give citizens data to do so. Let's have criminal justice reform that keeps all people safe but not senselessly imprisoned or afraid."

Tennis great King, who has fought for the growth of women's sport and for social justice, praised Japanese player Osaka's decision to abandon the Western and Southern Open in her individual protest.

King wrote: "A brave and impactful move by @naomiosaka, in support of the protest movement moving through the sports world. She was to play in the semis. Athletes using platforms for good means so much. Don't remain silent. #BlackLivesMatter"

Fellow tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova added: "An amazing stance Naomi ... well done, nothing but respect!!!"

The NHL faced criticism, however, for a perceived lack of response as the Stanley Cup playoffs continue.

Canadian star Evander Kane, who plays for the San Jose Sharks, tore into the league by saying: "Actually it's incredibly insulting as a black man in hockey the lack of action and acknowledgement from the @nhl, just straight up insulting."

Folks are fed up and they have all right to be.

This evening NBA players made their strongest statement yet against racial injustice when the Milwaukee Bucks didn't take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The WNBA games did not happen either.

Instead, The Atlanta Dream’s Elizabeth Williams read a statement announcing that, "the consensus is to not play in tonight's slate of games and to kneel, lock arms and raise fists during the national anthem."

The latest incident of racial injustice affecting the African-American community took place in Wisconsin— the home state of the Milwaukee Bucks. Jacob Blake Jr. was shot in the back seven times by a police officer.

In addition to injustice, generally there’s a lot going on globally. People are losing jobs, preparing to resume school, anticipating natural disasters, adapting to a pandemic, gearing up for an election.

In daunting times like these, a nation’s best defense should be a showcase of incredible resilience.

According to Oxford Languages, the definition of ‘resilience’ is, ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’

However, African Americans can’t recover quickly from racial injustice because the community is continuously being affected by it. The NBA and WNBA players are being affected— their sons, uncles, nephews are vulnerable and can become targets. It’s extremely personal at this point.

In an interview this evening, former Kings great Chris Webber said, “we know it won’t end tomorrow. We know that there’s been a million marches and nothing will change tomorrow.”

“We know nothing’s going to change, we get it. Martin Luther King got shot and risked his life— we’ve seen this in all of our heroes. We know it’s not going to end but that does not mean, young men, that you don’t do anything.”

“Don’t listen to these people that say don’t do anything because it’s not going to end right away. You are starting something for the next generation.”

I agree. Though racial injustice is a threat to the basic standard of living, it won’t change overnight.

Still, I believe this a cause always worth fighting for so generations to come will have less work to do.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds called off Wednesday's MLB game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

All three NBA playoff games at Walt Disney World Resort on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Blake – a black man who was repeatedly shot in the back by police.

It came after the Milwaukee Bucks – the top seeds in the Eastern Conference – decided to boycott Game 5 of their first-round postseason series against the Orlando Magic.

And in baseball, the Brewers followed suit after agreeing not to play their midweek fixture against the Reds at Miller Park in Milwaukee amid protests against racial injustice in the United States.

"The players from the Brewers and Reds have decided to not play tonight's baseball game," a statement from both sets of players said.

"With our community and our nation in such pain, we wanted to draw as much attention to the issues that really matter, especially racial injustice and systemic oppression."

The Seattle Mariners will also sit out MLB action midweek after players agreed to postpone their meeting with the San Diego Padres.

"The Seattle Mariners respect the team's decision not to play tonight's game," a statement read. "The Seattle Mariners stand with our players as they speak out with their words and actions against social injustice."

Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon wrote via Twitter: "There are serious issues in this country. For me, and for many of my teammates, the injustices, violence, death and systemic racism is deeply personal.

"This is impacting not only my community, but very directly my family and friends. Our team voted unanimously not to play tonight.

"Instead of watching us, we hope people will focus on the things more important than sports that are happening."

The Milwaukee Bucks' players delivered a powerful statement calling for change in the United States after their boycott.

All three NBA playoff games on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the United States.

The decision was taken after the Bucks made the call to boycott Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the Magic.

In a statement read by Sterling Brown and George Hill on behalf of the players, the Bucks demanded change and accountability after police shot Blake.

"The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African-American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings," they said.

"Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we've seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha and the additional shooting of protesters. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action so our focus today cannot be on basketball.

"When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, to give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard and in this moment we are demanding the same from law makers and law enforcement.

"We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin state legislator to reconvene after months of inaction and take the meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform.

"We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action and remember to vote on November 3rd."

The Bucks lead their series against Orlando 3-1, but the season is reportedly in jeopardy as players demand change amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the USA.

The Milwaukee Bucks' owners backed the players' decision to boycott their NBA playoff clash against the Orlando Magic.

All three NBA playoff games on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the United States.

The decision was taken after the Bucks made the call to boycott Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Magic.

Bucks owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan supported the players, although acknowledged they were unaware of the plans.

"We fully support our players and the decision they made," a statement from the owners read.

"Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them.

"The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us.

"Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change."

The Bucks lead their series against Orlando 3-1, but the season is reportedly in jeopardy as players demand change amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the USA.

Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss expressed her full support for NBA players after Wednesday's playoff games were postponed amid protests against racial injustice in the United States.

The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks made the call to boycott Game 5 of their first-round Eastern Conference series against the Orlando Magic midweek following the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Milwaukee had the chance to seal their spot in the second round of the postseason, but opted to sit out at Walt Disney World Resort after Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin.

The decision was then taken for all three midweek games to be postponed – the Los Angeles Lakers' Western Conference showdown against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder clash.

The 2019-20 season, being played behind closed doors in Orlando, Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic, is now reportedly in jeopardy as players voice their displeasure in the ongoing fight for justice.

But Lakers boss Buss tweeted: "I was excited to see us play - and hopefully close out our series - tonight. But I stand behind our players, today and always.

"After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough. #JusticeForJacobBlake #WeHearYou."

The Magic, meanwhile, also released a statement after sitting out alongside the Bucks in the east.

"Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of colour," the Magic said.

All three NBA playoff games on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the United States.

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