The Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics are seriously considering a boycott of Thursday’s Eastern Conference semifinal Game 1 matchup to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Players from both teams met at their hotel on Tuesday to discuss the possibilities about what they can do, according to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, as yet another police shooting of an unarmed Black man has grabbed national headlines.
The possibility of such a boycott was first raised by the Raptors on Tuesday, but the Celtics had not yet been a part of those discussions.
A dialogue has now been established with Boston and apparently several others around the league.
The talks of a potential boycott have also gotten the NBA Players Association involved, as the executive committee is in active discussions about the potential logistics of a boycott, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.
An assembly was held on Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort on Tuesday with union president Chris Paul and vice president Andre Iguodala present.
The union’s approach is to educate players on the pros and cons of such a boycott, but would support players regardless of what they choose to do.
Meanwhile, the Celtics and Raptors plan to meet again on Wednesday to further discuss their options as many players still do want to play, according to Spears.
Celtics' Jayson Tatum, who spoke at length about the Blake shooting on Tuesday along with teammate Marcus Smart, offered some insights into those discussions, adding that a boycott of a game -- or even the remainder of the playoffs -- would have a significant impact.
"Obviously if we sit out a game or the rest of the playoffs, we understand how big an impact that would have," he told reporters. "Everyone woul have to talk about it. ... We're more than just basketball players, we're people."
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens also added on Wednesday that he would fully support whatever the players decide to do.
The shooting of Blake, who is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down after officers shot him multiple times in front of his car with his three children present, has sparked outrage across the nation with NBA players among the most vocal.
Los Angeles Clippers head coach and former Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered a passionate perspective of the shooting, as did Lakers star LeBron James.
George Hill of the Indiana Pacers suggested that the NBA should not have restarted amongst the social unrest in the country – a point Kyrie Irving had reportedly raised among players earlier this summer.