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NBA to restart playoffs Saturday along with new initiatives; Jazz play Sunday

By Ryan Miller, KSL.com | Updated - Aug. 28, 2020 at 2:56 p.m. | Posted - Aug. 28, 2020 at 11:56 a.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA playoffs will resume on Saturday.

In a joint statement Friday, following two days of postponed games amid protests of police brutality, the National Basketball Players Association and the NBA announced that all parties had agreed to return to the court this weekend.

The Utah Jazz will resume their series again the Denver Nuggets on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. MDT in the Orlando bubble. The Jazz hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Utah returned to practice on Friday, but “in light of recent events” did not hold media availability.

Players, coaches, owners and the league have spent the last two days trying to figure out a more proactive plan to address the social issues the players ultimately sat out games to support.

"We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality,” the statement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said.

Those next steps include establishing a social justice coalition, using league arenas as voting sites, and dedicating advertisement space to promote voting information.

The social coalition will have representation from players, coaches and governors and will be focused on a broad range of issues. These include access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for police and criminal justice reform.

In cities where the league franchise owns and controls the arena, team governors are expected to convert the facility into a voting location. The Utah Jazz announced on Friday that Vivint Arena — along with three Megaplex Theatres locations — would be used for polling locations during November’s general election. The Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, and Charlotte Hornets have also already committed their arenas to be used as voting locations.

Throughout the remainder of the playoffs, the league will create and include advertising dedicated to “promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.”

The actions are in response to player protests, which began Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for their scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic. That protest led to each game since being postponed.

On Thursday, players, coaches and owners from all 13 teams still in the Orlando bubble, as well as Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, the chairman of the NBA's Labor Relations Committee, met to come up with specific points that will help lead to changes the players have been promoting since the NBA restarted in July.

"These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” the statement reads. "We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together — in Orlando and in all NBA team markets — to push for meaningful and sustainable change."

Ryan Miller

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