The Milwaukee Bucks shocked the world last week when they refused to come out of the locker room on Wednesday before their scheduled game against the Orlando Magic, and now we know how the move came to fruition.
It was surprising because the Magic players were on the court warming up before the game, with no indication that the Bucks were unwilling to join them. And while some of their players did warm up earlier in the afternoon, when they reentered the locker room, they never hit the hardwood again that day.
The Bucks sent a clear message about social injustice and police brutality, given what happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, not too far from their team facility, with Jacob Blake getting shot in the back by police officers seven times. Them essentially going on strike by refusing to play the game sent a ripple through multiple sports leagues that is still being felt. And now we know how it came to fruition, as Giannis Antetokounmpo recently spoke about it with reporters.
“I saw George [Hill] and Sterling [Brown], Antetokounmpo said, via Sporting News. “George decided not to play the game, and he didn’t put pressure to [any] of his teammates. Not me. Not the coach.
“Sterling decided to do the same thing. He came in the locker room to talk to us, and I decided as a leader, as Giannis, that’s who I am, I was like, ‘I’m not playing this game.’ I didn’t want to play this game.
“I told coach (Mike Budenholzer) I’m not playing this game. I can’t leave my teammates behind. They felt a type of way about all the frustration that was going on, it wasn’t in the right space to play the game.”
It sure didn’t seem like it was a decision that all the Bucks players were in favor of, and while they all supported each other, it’s fair to wonder if it has an impact on the team — with Antetokounmpo’s free agency decision looming next summer — going forward.