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Referees huddle on an empty court at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday night were postponed after players said they were boycotting over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The WNBA has also postponed three games.

Why it matters: The Milwaukee Bucks, who led Wednesday's protests, are the first NBA team to boycott a game in the wake of nationwide unrest over racism and police brutality. Many NBA players decided to participate in the league's coronavirus "bubble" experiment in order to use their platform to bring awareness to social justice issues.

  • The Bucks, who stayed in their locker room as the game was set to tip off, are just one game away from advancing from their opening-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic.
  • The decision comes amid growing outrage over the shooting of Blake on Sunday in Kenosha, a city 40 miles outside of Milwaukee.
  • Soon after the Bucks' players announced their decision, the Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder-Houston Rockets games were also postponed.

The big picture: Shortly after the NBA announced its decision, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds also moved to call off their game tonight. Other MLB teams are reportedly considering following suit.

What they're saying: Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, tweeted, "Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change."

  • Bucks guard George Hill told ESPN's Undefeated, "We're tired of the killings and the injustice."
  • Lakers star Lebron James tweeted, "F*ck THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT"
  • Other NBA players, including the Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray, the Boston Celtics' Grant Williams, and the Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell also tweeted their support for the protest.

Read the full Bucks statement on their decision not to play.

Between the lines: "The NBA, owners and front offices didn't see this wave of player boycotts coming today," tweeted NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. "Hours ago, they all expected to be playing these games tonight. This is a pivot point for the NBA and professional sports in North America."

What's next: NBA players will reportedly hold a meeting later on Wednesday to discuss next steps, per Wojnarowski.

Go deeper

Nov 29, 2020 - Sports

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground, and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

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Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.