NBA 'Hopeful' to Resume Play This Weekend Following Players' Strike

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The NBA is hopeful that they will resume games by the end of this week, after players protested following Jacob Blake's shooting. On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic in the wake of the 29-year-old Wisconsin man being shot in the back multiple times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“NBA playoff games for today will not be played as scheduled. We are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday," NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass said in a statement on Thursday. "There is a videoconference 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 Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps."

Following the Bucks' strike, the NBA announced that Wednesday's three games -- Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers -- were postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.

Soon after, Major League Baseball joined the cause when Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds players became the first to sit out of their games. The rest of the MLB's Wednesday's games were also put on hold. WNBA games between the Washington Mystics and the Atlanta Dream, the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx, and Connecticut Sun against Phoenix Mercury were also postponed, the league tweeted.

Many athletes, including LeBron James, made sure to point out that they did not "postpone" their game, emphasizing that they boycotted in protest.

LeBron James
LeBron James/Instagram

On Sunday, graphic video footage of Blake being shot went viral. In the clip, Blake -- who was reportedly trying to break up a fight when police arrived on the scene -- was walking away from officers who had their weapons drawn. 

When Blake approached the driver's side door of a parked SUV, one officer reached out to grab his shirt and fired multiple shots into his back, the video shows. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has been retained by Blake's family, revealed in a statement that three of Blake's children -- ages 3, 7, and 8 -- were inside the SUV at the time of the shooting.

Blake was rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment. The family's attorney stated on Tuesday that doctors believe Blake will be left paralyzed by the incident. The shooting sparked a wave of demonstrations and marches that at times turned violent when protesters were met with armed police forces.

James -- who has been outspoken on social media about the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and more -- took to Twitter to express the importance of justice. "F**K THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT," he tweeted on Wednesday, following the Bucks' boycott

Meanwhile, ET's Kevin Frazier spoke with former NBA star Matt Barnes on Thursday about his thoughts on the players' decision.

"I had the TV on and then friends slowly but surely started texting me, saying that Milwaukee walked out and my first thought was, 'I love it,'" he told ET. "It's in their backyard. It's only right for them to take the first step. But then kind of looking back thinking now that the whole world is looking at the NBA of what's next?"

"I think everyone's on the same page, as they don't have a problem boycotting and stepping out," he continued. "I think it's the right thing to do, but I wish they possibly could have gave some heads up 'cause now everyone is waiting on the NBA to almost eradicate racism with the next move and we all know that's not gonna happen."

As for what this could mean financially for the league and players? Barnes shared that while he's not 100 percent sure on what could happen, he's heard there might be talks of the remainder of players' salaries being taken away.

"Then I also heard that this will tear up the collective bargain agreement that they have and the owners could possibly go on strike to start next season," he explained. "But my problem there is that will really show where these owners stand because a lot of these owners have been sitting on their hands and keeping their mouth shut. These players are trying to do the right thing, these players are trying to end racism when it's not even our job. It's not our job to end racism, it's not Black people's as a whole and it's definitely not the NBA's."

As for what he would say to people who don't understand why the players are boycotting, Barnes expressed, "We don't ever forget where we come from," noting that the majority of players in the league are African American.

"So we're speaking for those who don't have our platform and don't have our voice and that's definitely needed. It's a frustrating time, it's a scary time and something needs to be done," he relayed. "This is a whole lot of pressure for the NBA players to have on their shoulders, but you know there are several guys along with LeBron and Chris that are doing things and are ready for the task, but people have to understand this is gonna be a process, this won't be an overnight change."

For more on the NBA players' boycott, see below.

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