The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers have voted to boycott the NBA season, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Wednesday.
Sources: The Lakers and Clippers have voted to boycott the NBA season. Most other teams voted to continue. LeBron James has exited the meeting.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2020
The Lakers decided as a team to sit out of their Game 5 matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday as a way to protest racial inequality and police violence in the United States.
While the early expectation was that the NBA would be able to address their players’ concerns and resume the season, it seems as though the Lakers and Clippers — two teams from one of the biggest markets in North American sports — want to set the tone for the rest of the league and sit out the remainder of the season.
Sources: Miami's Udonis Haslem spoke and essentially told everyone in room that -- without Lakers and Clippers, how will season continue?— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2020
LeBron James walked out. Rest of Lakers and Clippers exited behind him.
Sources: Every team besides Lakers and Clippers voted to continue playing. LeBron James said in meeting he want owners to be more involved/take action.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2020
It’s not immediately clear how this will all affect the league’s plans moving forward, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Clippers and Lakers voting on perhaps not continuing with the season was considered more of a polling, than a final vote, sources tell ESPN. The resumption of the playoffs remains still up in the air.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 27, 2020
Since the season began, there has been an enormous amount of hype for the potential Western Conference matchup between the two Los Angeles teams, who have never played each other in the postseason before. By boycotting the season, the Lakers and Clippers are taking away the NBA’s most exciting rivalry, which is a valuable asset in terms of marketability for the league. In other words, this is no small chip for them to take off the table if they’re seeking action from ownership groups.
Obviously, emotions are high right now, but this is an issue that players have been dealing with even before the season restarted — it’s the reason Kyrie Irving, Wilson Chandler and so many other players didn’t make the trip. Whether or not the NBA returning served as the distraction to the civil rights movement that Irving and others feared it would doesn’t matter at this point; what matters is the players that are in Orlando, where they have been expected to perform at a high level with the issue of racial inequality weighing down on them.
Would it be incredible to see the Lakers and Clippers in the Western Conference Finals? Or course. Would it be even better if it was the Lakers lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season? Absolutely.
But these players have already been through so much — from the death of Kobe Bryant to a global pandemic that has forced them to be away from their families for almost two months now. If enough is enough for them, then we shouldn’t be the ones to judge their decision. Right now, they deserve nothing less than our support.
This developing story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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