Basketball: NBA playoffs in turmoil as LeBron James calls for season to be cancelled amid social injustice protests

The remainder of the revamped NBA basketball season is in jeopardy, with a dramatic player boycott putting a halt to the playoffs.

Milwaukee Bucks led the way by refusing to take to the court against Orlando Magic on Thursday (NZ time), in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake in their home state of Wisconsin.

That one selfless act from the side, predicted by some to be the NBA favourites, sparked a wave of sporting boycotts across other American sports leagues.

While the Magic warmed up on the court for game five of their playoff series, the Bucks stayed in their locker room.

"Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball," says player Sterling Brown.

Their stand was the catalyst for a day of postponed games, with NBA officials pulling the pin, after other teams indicated they'd boycott as well.

"It amazes me, why we keep loving this country and this country doesn't love us back," notes Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers. "It's just so sad." 

Even before the Bucks boycotted, the scene was set for players to take a stand.

The Washington Mystics women's team arrived for their WNBA game in shirts that spelled 'Jacob Blake' on the front and had seven bullet holes on the back.

All up, 14 fixtures across America's major basketball, baseball and soccer leagues were postponed.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka boycotted her semi-final at a US Open tune-up event and current athletes weren't alone in standing in solidarity.

NBA veteran-turned broadcaster Kenny Smith walked out of a live television broadcast.

"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," he said.

And the walkouts didn't end there.

LeBron James stormed out of an emergency NBA player meeting late on Thursday, with the LA Lakers and Clippers voting to end the season with immediate effect.

"It was emotional, it was volatile at times and it ultimately ended with another meeting tomorrow, and the season is absolutely in doubt," reveals ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The playoffs seem certain to stay on hold for now.