The Bucks’ NBA bubble boycott, as told by Kyle Korver
The Milwaukee Bucks’s decision to forego Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round match-up against the Orlando Magic last August remains one of the biggest story-lines of the recently concluded 2019-20 campaign. Although Bucks guard Kyle Korver was not one of the initiators of that boycott, he couldn’t help but feel emotional when reliving the events that led to that decision.
“I just sat there with tears running down my face,” Korver recalled the exact moment when his team decided to forego the important game, per Sports Illustrated’s Michael Shapiro. “And I’m looking at my jersey that says Black Lives Matter, and I’m like, ‘what are we doing?'”
“One teammate, George Hill decided he wasn’t going to play. …We all just sat there and were like, ‘we’re all with you.'”
While Korver is just one of the few white players in Milwaukee’s roster, the 39-year-old shooter threw his complete support behind the Black Lives Matter movement to finally put an end to racial injustice and police brutality.
“It’s always interesting for me as a white man in these spaces. How do I help as a white man? What do I say as a white man in this space?” Korver added. “And you know what you do? You stand with the marginalized. And when you can you amplify their voice, and you listen to their thoughts, and you listen to their ideas, and then you find your way to help out”.
The Bucks decision to voluntarily get an L in their playoff game came just a day after African-American civilian Jacob Blake was shot by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin — which just so happened to be eerily close to the team’s home floor at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. Given the entire squad was miles away inside the bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the Bucks players felt they need to send a strong message by refusing to play.
This, of course, set the course for a domino effect that reverberated around the entire league. All the scheduled playoff games that day were postponed. The 2019-20 campaign was also put in jeopardy of being cancelled for the second time after the effects of the pandemic.
The season only managed to resume only after the league and the NBPA agreed to terms following several closed-door meetings.
Kyle Korver, on the other hand, did not have a productive season in his 17th year in the league, notching just 6.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 58 games. Still, the one-time All-Star provided a valuable contributions far bigger than basketball.