The Boston Celtics practiced on Friday, but they declined to hold media availability, according to a team official.
The Celtics joined several other teams around the league in practicing but declining media availability. The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors both canceled availabilities as well.
The Bucks released a brief statement along with the announcement that they would not hold availability.
“As we return to the court today, our team focus will be on our overall performance and well-being,” the team said.
On Wednesday, Celtics star Jayson Tatum outlined why basketball feels less important than everything else happening at the moment.
“How many points we score, that s— don’t matter right now,” Tatum said. “Being a Black man in America is more important than what I’m doing out there on a basketball court. Using my platform, my voice to help create conversations and change is more important than anything I can do out there. You think about a man getting shot in his back seven times with his kids in the car is way more important than anything I can do out there on the floor. Just knowing his (three) kids are going to be traumatized for the rest of their life seeing their dad get shot for no reasons, I couldn’t even imagine how that’s going to affect them the rest of their life.”
Marcus Smart expressed frustration about being in the bubble, as well as the necessity for an ongoing fight against racism.
“People are upset, people are pissed and people are fed up,” Smart said. “Like I said, it’s just sad that we still have to be going through this and still fight for something that’s so obvious and that’s racism. It’s the obvious factor that shouldn’t be there and we shouldn’t have to go through it but we are still going through it.”
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to stay in their locker room and refused to play the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer. According to his father, Blake is unlikely to walk again.
The NBA postponed the rest of its games on Wednesday, and players debated whether they wanted to resume the season. Ultimately, they agreed to continue playing while making additional demands of NBA owners.