Bucks boycott Game 5 against Magic to protest Jacob Blake shooting, racial injustice

The Milwaukee Bucks, who were scheduled to play the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first-round NBA playoff series at 4:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, boycotted the game in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting.

Magic players left the court just before tip-off. The three referees and the alternate referee remained on the court for a few minutes after the Magic left, then retreated to their locker rooms.

Arena workers began removing name tags from player chairs in the bench area around 4:18 p.m. NBA TV showed video of Magic players, coaches and staff leaving the arena and getting on a bus at 4:42 p.m.

Blake, a Black man, was shot multiple times in the back on Sunday by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is 40 miles south of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan.

"We're tired of the killings and injustice," Bucks guard George Hill told The Undefeated.

Bucks general manager Jon Horst told reporters in Orlando that players likely would not be speaking but the organization plans to release a statement.

Earlier in the day, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters: “Our team has had lots of conversations and has a high level of concern and wants to continue to fight for racial justice, for social justice, for the end of excessive use of force by police. But I think it’s best for our team conversations and what we’re thinking and doing to stay private until if and when a player or myself decides something needs to be made public.

“But there’s a lot of concern, there’s a lot of conversation, there’s a lot of frustration, but I also think our players want to find a way to fight for better, and there’s lots of different ways to do that. I think everything is under consideration.”

Bucks guard-forward Sterling Brown was the victim of police brutality in Milwaukee in 2018.

On Tuesday night, the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics players met to discuss a possible boycott of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday. Toronto coach Nick Nurse said a boycott was one of a couple talking points on the table and discussions were ongoing.

In a historic move, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in response to the Jacob Blake shooting. (Photo: Ashley Landis, pool photo, USA TODAY Sports)

The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers were scheduled to play later Wednesday. They have not made any announcements about possible plans to boycott. 

However, NBA TV showed video of Thunder players leaving the arena about 90 minutes before their scheduled tip-off against the Rockets.

After the Bucks defeated Orlando in Game 4 on Monday, Hill questioned why they were playing games in a bubble near Orlando, Florida.

“Coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are. But we're here. It is what it is,” Hill said. “We can't do anything from right here. But definitely when it's all settled, some things need to be done. This world has to change. Our police department has to change. Us a society has to change. Right now, we’re not seeing any of that. Lives are being taken as we speak day in and day out. There’s no consequence or accountability for it. That’s what has to change.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt

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