While the world was still in shock following the Milwaukee Bucks decision to not play in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer, who has been identified, the Inside The NBA crew had to instantly react. It was very evident once the cameras went live, that the mood inside Studio J was a very somber one. In an unprecedented and powerful act of solidarity, Kenny Smith decided that the moment just didn’t call for him talking about basketball, removed his microphone, and walked off the set.
“As a black man, as a former player, I think it’s best for me to support the players and just not be here tonight,” Smith said. “And figure out what happens after that,” as he began his to make his exit. Lead host, Ernie Johnson in response to The Jet’s decision, said, “I respect that” as Kenny walked off the Emmy-Award winning sports show.
Despite Kenny leaving, the show went on. His co-hosts Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Charles Barkley continuing the conversation about the Bucks starting a movement that led to the other NBA playoff games being postponed, WNBA games being stopped, and other professional sports leagues also following suit.
Chris Webber and Stan Van Gundy, who are in the NBA bubble and were supposed to handle color-commentary duties, joined the discussion. Webber would go on to deliver an impassioned take that saw the retired NBA great shed tears while talking about the current player’s decision to boycott.
While initially, the resumption of the NBA Bubble Playoffs was looking bleak following a night of meetings that saw the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers voting in a poll to cancel the remainder of the season, it would seem cooler heads have prevailed. Adrian Wojnarowski reported that players have all agreed to resume play once again, but the games scheduled for today (Aug.27) will also be postponed. Still, NBA action could continue as early as Friday (Aug.28).
Salute to Kenny for standing with the players.
Photo: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz