The NBA boycotts feel like a 'huge cultural inflection point,' analysts say

NBA's Orlando bubble.
(Image credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Bucks' decision to boycott their NBA playoff game Wednesday in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake is already reverberating.

For starters, the other two NBA games scheduled for Wednesday between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers have been postponed, and it seems possible Thursday's slate of games will be canceled in protest, as well.

The action has also reached Major League Baseball. The Milwaukee Brewers, who, like the Bucks, represent Blake's home state, held a team meeting Wednesday, which resulted in the call to follow the Bucks' lead and boycott their Wednesday evening game against the Cincinnati Reds. Other MLB teams are reportedly considering the same.

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Analysts don't believe the movement will be confined to the sports universe, however, and instead could prove to be a "huge cultural inflection point."

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Athletes have been at the center of political and social justice movements in the United States (and elsewhere) for decades — Jesse Owens running at the 1936 Olympics held in Nazi Germany, Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, Muhammad Ali's draft defiance, John Carlos and Tommie Smith's Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympics, and, more recently, Colin Kaepernick kneeling before the flag are all examples — and the current boycotts seem primed to join that list, particularly because of their scale. Tim O'Donnell

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.