Bigger than sports: How the NBA’s call to act halted the world

Tyler Meguire

The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors discussed boycotting NBA playoff games in the wake of Rusten Sheskey shooting unarmed Black man Jacob Blake in the back seven times.

With this talk came action, as the Milwaukee Bucks — who usually play home games about 45 minutes away from Kenosha, Wisconsin — and Orlando Magic boycotted game five of the first round of the playoffs.

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Teams playing in the remainder of the slated games followed in the Bucks’ steps, and all teams boycotted their games. The NBA postponed the games on Thursday and Friday.

It was a historic event and one that no one will forget. The players, coaches, officials, team executives and team personnel all showcased an exceptional act of leadership and unity in this imperative fight for racial justice — and it all started with the players.

Their leadership sparked action throughout the sports world. Colorado Rockies slugger Matt Kemp boycotted the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Six Major League Baseball teams boycotted their games Wednesday night, and Thursday followed with seven games postponed.

On Wednesday, Kenny “the Jet” Smith walked away from TNT’s “Inside the NBA” set to join the players in solidarity. Tennis star Naomi Osaka also boycotted her match against Elise Mertens on Thursday. The National Hockey League postponed its games on Thursday and Friday to join the boycott. Major League Soccer boycotted its games on Wednesday as well

The Women’s National Basketball Association went a little further, with the Washington Mystics donning shirts spelling out Blake’s name with seven holes in the back representing the gunshots to Blake’s back.

With the NBA influencing the world, however, came an abundance of questions. What is next for the season? Are playoffs going to be canceled? Most importantly, what will the players do next to have their voices heard and ignite change? These are all fair questions, and the players knew this. The players took the time during their boycott to hold a meeting to figure out what their plan of attack was going to be.

After the players’ meeting Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association released a statement with their plans to fight social injustices.

Many leagues are set to get going again. The NBA released that teams would be returning to play on Saturday with an updated schedule.

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NBA fans are wondering what the NBA players will do when they return to the court or what they will not do to make the world listen and look at what they are fighting for. The NBA fan base is hoping it is something big.

“Change doesn’t happen with just talk!!” Lebron James tweeted on Thursday. “It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! For my @IPROMISESchool kids, kids and communities across the country, it’s on US to make a difference. Together. That’s why your vote is @morethanavote #BlackLivesMatter.”

Tyler Meguire can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TMeguire.