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Despite Heavy Threats from King James, NBA Decides to Move Forward with Season

For basketball fans who were already lamenting a season shortened by the global coronavirus pandemic, this latest news could provide a little hope for a conclusion to the campaign after all. 

On Wednesday night, an unprecedented show of solidarity swept over the American sports world.

In protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, players from the WNBA, NBA, MLB, MLS, and NFL all canceled events – both games and practices. The demonstration began with the National Basketball League’s Milwaukee Bucks, who normally play just 45 minutes up the road from Kenosha, and spread through the remainder of the leagues within hours.

The scene was stark on some place, like Miami, where visiting MLS team Atlanta United arrived, suited up, participated in pregame warmups, and then refused to reemerge from the locker room in protest.  Their opponent, Inter Miami FC, stood confused on the pitch for tens of minutes before being informed by their team captain that they, too, would be abandoning the game.

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Overnight, the rhetoric escalated, with LeBron James and other NBA superstars suggesting that the entire 2020 NBA season be canceled in protest, even as the league was in the thick of the playoffs.

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By Thursday afternoon, this call to action had been itself abandoned.

A person with knowledge of the situation says NBA players decided Thursday that they want to continue the season, coming to that consensus one day after three postseason games were postponed in a protest of racial injustice.

It was not clear yet when the season would resume, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the National Basketball Players Association had announced anything publicly.

The NBA’s board of governors were meeting separately Thursday to decide next steps. There were three games on Thursday’s schedule, and the league did not immediately say if they would be pushed back. But with the players exiting their meeting around noon, and the first game of the tripleheader scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Eastern, it seemed most unlikely that the day’s slate would not be disrupted.

For basketball fans who were already lamenting a season shortened by the global coronavirus pandemic, this latest news could provide a little hope for a conclusion to the campaign after all.

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