Many NBA players across the league have expressed their displeasure with the All-Star Game and competitions still being held this year despite the pandemic wreaking havoc on the sports world and the shortened season. Stars such as Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and LeBron James have voiced their grievances against All-Star activities.
Usually, the All-Star Game was the final portion of an entire weekend that celebrates the game’s brightest stars. The Players Association and the league have decided to condense the three-day event into one day on March 7. It will be the 70th All-Star Game in NBA history.
All-Star Weekend is something that really brings everyone in and lets the fans enjoy seeing all the talent across the league. Some fans aren’t given the opportunity to see many of the great stars due to what games are televised in their area, so All-Star Weekend allows fans to see all of them on one stage.
The normal challenges and events include Celebrity and Rising Stars games on Friday night. Saturday night normally includes the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk challenge. Sunday night finishes off the weekend with the All-Star Game.
LeBron James spoke in a recent post-game press conference about there being these events this year. “They throw an All-Star Game on us like this and it just breaks that all the way up. Pretty much kind of a slap in the face.” The reference to not really getting a break during the already shortened season has many players wondering why the league is trying to keep the events of All-Star Weekend.
Giannis Anteokounmp told ESPN that “I’ve got zero energy, zero excitement,” for this year’s game, saying that he would rather be spending time with his family.
The NBA is able to bring in much needed revenue holding these events. Televising the game allows for all kinds of promotions and advertising to increase funds for the league. The pandemic has caused many leagues to miss out on the revenue that they are used to seeing every year.
With this being the shortest off-season in league history, there should be more of an effort to look out for the players. The All-Star Game would be nice for the fans to watch and for the league to make-up some profits, but overall there seems to be more of a risk than anything else.
Players from all around the country will gather to play one game in the middle of the pandemic. This just seems to be taking unnecessary risk that could jeopardize the rest of the season. The NBA experienced a shutdown last year, and this could have the same effect if there is an outbreak at the game. They should be able to use this time to go spend with their family and enjoy their time off from the brutal stretch of games that they have had to endure this season.
By Nicholas Mundy