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NBA players decide to continue season

NBA players have agreed not to boycott the rest of the season after forcing the postponement of a slate of play-off games in a protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

The police shooting of a black man in the Wisconsin town of Kenosha has triggered days of violent unrest and riled US professional sports.

The NBA postponed all three play-off games that had been scheduled on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for Game 5 of their series against the Orlando Magic.

The Bucks players said in a statement on Wednesday they were unable to focus on basketball due to the events in Kenosha, which is located 60km south of Milwaukee.

ESPN and the Washington Post reported that NBA players have decided to resume the play-offs after meeting among themselves in the bubble-like campus at Disney World in Florida, where the games are being played due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Post reported that players from the 13 teams still in the play-offs met on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

The NBA Board of Governors held an emergency meeting on Thursday.

The league has postponed the three play-off games scheduled for Thursday, ESPN reported.

Since the NBA restarted its pandemic-interrupted season, courts have had the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on them and many players have worn jerseys with social justice slogans.

NBA referees marched on Thursday around the Disney campus in support of the players, wearing black T-shirts with messages like “Everybody vs. Racism” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the Women’s NBA also postponed games on Wednesday, while two-time tennis grand slam champion Naomi Osaka pulled out of a tournament after reaching the semi-finals in support of the protests.

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, said he planned to reach out to NBA star LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday about the boycott to protest racial injustice.

James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, wrote on Twitter on Thursday: “Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW!”

In an interview with Politico, Kushner suggested that the actions by the players were not productive.

“I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive,” Kushner said.

James, along with other NBA players and coaches, has been critical of Trump in the past.

James called him a “bum” in 2017 after the Republican president rescinded an invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to visit the White House.

James accused Trump in 2018 of trying to use sports to divide Americans.

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