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Lakers join walkout of playoff games

A sign at HP Field House on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Aug. 26, 2020, delivers an ominous message for the day.
A sign at HP Field House on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex delivers an ominous message on Wednesday.
(Kevin C. Cox / Associated Press)

The Lakers joined the rest of the league in deciding not to play their scheduled game Wednesday.

The movement began Wednesday afternoon when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court against the Orlando Magic, in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back multiple times by police in Kenosha, Wis., while investigating a domestic violence call.

“[EXPLETIVE] THIS MAN!!!!” LeBron James wrote on Twitter. “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT”

Until Wednesday, the Lakers had said they planned to continue playing games, in part because they felt committed.

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Asked about Bucks guard George Hill saying Monday that the league should not have come to Orlando, neither James nor Kyle Kuzma agreed with the sentiment Tuesday. Both of them spoke about Blake’s shooting, though. Kuzma began his postgame news conference with a message to Blake’s family that NBA players would not stop fighting for justice for him. James spoke passionately about the relationship of Black people to police.

The Lakers were scheduled to play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, which they lead 3-1.

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The NBA announced all games were postponed, not canceled, but had not announced a plan to reschedule them.

Lakers co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss released a statement on the situation:

“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 move is driven by players. The Lakers held a players-only meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation.


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