Following their walkout, Bucks players, led by Hill and his teammate Sterling Brown, called for elected officials in Wisconsin to take concrete steps to hold the police officers accountable for how they treated Blake.
“For this to occur, it’s imperative for the Wisconsin state Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform,” Hill said.
The walkouts drew the attention of several prominent political figures. Among the first to weigh in was former President Barack Obama, who has personal relationships with several N.B.A. players. He praised the Bucks in a tweet on Wednesday “for standing up for what they believe in.”
The reaction from the White House was much more critical.
Along with Trump’s comments, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, said on CNBC, “I think that the N.B.A. players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”
The players’ action, as impactful as it has been, has also come with some of its own challenges. At a private players’ meeting hours after the walkout, some players expressed frustration with the Bucks for surprising the union, their opponents and the league with their protest, according to two people who attended the meeting but were not authorized to discuss the details publicly.
Then, after the protest spread and inspired some players to reconsider playing at all this season, the Bucks quickly backed resuming play, rankling some rival players, including James, according to the people.
Several N.B.A. and W.N.B.A. players have increased their social justice efforts in recent months. James and other top athletes formed More Than a Vote to protect voting rights and reach out to Black voters. Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors guard, appeared in a video at the Democratic National Convention in support of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the party’s presidential nominee. Renee Montgomery, who plays for the W.N.B.A.’s Atlanta Dream, skipped the season altogether to focus on social justice efforts.