OKC Thunder boycotting playoff game in protest against police shooting of Jacob Blake; NBA postpones games

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ORLANDO, Fla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Thunder will not take the court for Wednesday’s playoff game against the Houston Rockets as an act of protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., according to an NBA insider.

Both the Thunder and the Rockets are boycotting by refusing to play in today’s playoff game, which was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Central Time, according to Shams Charania, an NBA insider, writer and analyst for The Atlantic and Stadium.

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic were also set to play on Wednesday, but both teams did not show up on the court in Orlando for tipoff.

Charania also reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers will also boycott their Wednesday game.

Shortly after, the NBA announced that all three Wednesday games were postponed.

The Thunder organization expressed their support of the players’ peaceful protest:

The players’ boycott is in response to the Aug. 23 shooting of 29-year-old Blake.

Blake, a black man, was shot in the back seven times at close range by police in Kenosha. The shooting occurred just a few feet from Blake’s children, who were inside Blake’s vehicle. Blake was walking to his vehicle when an officer who was following close behind opened fire.

Patrick Salvi, a lawyer for Blake’s family, told NBC News that Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Benjamin Crump, another Blake family attorney, said that Blake was attempting to help deescalate a “domestic incident” when the officer shot him from behind as he was walking away.

The shooting has sparked large protests in Kenosha.

Two people were killed and one person was injured when shots were fired late Tuesday night during a protest in Kenosha.

Seventeen-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Ill., has been arrested in connection with the shootings, according to NBC News.

The NBA season was postponed for months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When games resumed in Orlando, Fla., on July 30, teams across the league, including the Thunder, knelt during the National Anthem in protest against incidents of police brutality, the May 25th death of George Floyd in particular.

Floyd, an unarmed man, died beneath the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee down against the back of Floyd’s neck as other officers held Floyd down and kept civilians who expressed concern for Floyd at bay.

Floyd pleaded for his life as Chauvin bore his knee down against the back of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, saying he could not breathe and calling out to his deceased mother.

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