The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers have reportedly voted to boycott the rest of the NBA Playoffs, the latest development in a shocking day that saw three playoff games canceled.
Hours after the Milwaukee Bucks made sports history by refusing to play for Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic, the Lakers and Clippers are now takings things even further.
Lakers, Clippers to boycott the remainder of NBA Playoffs?
The Clippers and Lakers, the two teams seen as the favorites to win the NBA Finals, took part in a league-wide meeting between players on Wednesday night. During that meeting, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, both teams voted to sit out the rest of the playoffs.
During the meeting, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the remaining NBA playoff teams all voted to keep playing in the bubble and to finish out the postseason. That includes the Bucks, who sparked the initial movement and released a team statement calling for action after Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police officers in Wisconsin.
Entering Wednesday, the Lakers held a 3-1 lead in their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Both teams planned to boycott Wednesday’s game before the NBA stepped in and postponed all three scheduled contests.
The Clippers were set to play the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, holding a 3-2 series lead with a chance to put the series away.
Notably, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers and Lakers have only voted not to keep playing. The decision isn’t believed to be final, leaving open the possibility for both teams returning to the court.
While the NBA has supported players’ rights to protest during the national anthem and encouraged change to address systemic inequality, many players haven’t felt enough has been done. Now with the league’s most popular teams and biggest stars sitting out, the rest of the playoffs could be in serious jeopardy.
The NBA was already at risk of losing nearly $1 billion in television revenue if the playoffs were canceled and already lost out on an additional $1 billion by playing in an empty stadium. If the league can’t find a resolution to satisfy the Lakers and Clippers, its long-term financial future could be in real jeopardy.