Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

NBA play­ers want change that makes their com­mu­ni­ties safer. They want peo­ple to vote — hope­fully in their home are­nas. And they want to keep play­ing bas­ket­ball.

Teams re­turned to the court Fri­day in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, af­ter the NBA and the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion agreed on com­mit­ments that made play­ers com­fort­able con­tin­u­ing.

An emo­tional Chris Paul, the union pres­i­dent, de­tailed the events of the pre­vi­ous two days, when play­ers up­set by the lat­est po­lice shoot­ing of a Black man left them con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the Dis­ney cam­pus and go­ing home.

“We’re all hurt, we’re all tired of just see­ing the same thing over and over again and every­body just ex­pects us to be OK just be­cause we get paid great money,” Paul said. “We’re hu­man, we have real feel­ings and I’m glad that we got a chance to get in a room and talk with one an­other and not just cross paths and say good luck in your game to­day.”

All 13 teams re­main­ing in the post­sea­son sched­uled prac­tice Fri­day — the an­niver­sary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Free­dom, as Paul noted — though some de­clined to speak with re­porters. Games are to re­sume Satur­day with the Bucks tak­ing on the Magic in the resched­uled Game 5 of their se­ries.

The other two games Satur­day will be Thun­der ver­sus the Rock­ets fol­lowed by the Trail Blaz­ers against the Lak­ers.

Play stopped Wed­nes­day when the Bucks didn’t take the court for their play­off game against the Magic, show­ing their frus­tra­tion with the po­lice shoot­ing of Ja­cob Blake in Wis­con­sin and acts of racial in­jus­tice.

Guard Danny Green said Lak­ers play­ers were rest­ing ahead of their sched­uled night game when they got the word about the Bucks. He said there were some heated mo­ments when play­ers met that night, given their sur­prise at the Bucks’ ac­tions, but he didn’t think they would get to the point of de­cid­ing not to play.

“I mean, we all know that that would make a state­ment,” Green said. “We ob­vi­ously are here. So we’re all here, we all want to play.

“We know we have a chance to do some­thing special too, but we know there are things more im­por­tant than that, than win­ning a cham­pi­onship.”

Games were post­poned the last two days, dur­ing which play­ers met among them­selves and with coaches and own­ers be­fore an agree­ment to re­sume was reached.


Kristaps Porzingis will miss the rest of the Mav­er­icks’ se­ries against the Clip­pers be­cause of a torn lig­a­ment in his right knee. Porzingis has re­ceived treat­ment for the in­jury, which he sus­tained in Game 1 of the se­ries. They added that fur­ther treat­ment op­tions are be­ing ex­plored and he wouldn’t be med­i­cally cleared the rest of the se­ries. ✶


The Thun­der’s Deonte Bur­ton takes the court for prac­tice in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Play­ers walked out on Wed­nes­day in sup­port of the so­cial-jus­tice move­ment.

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