On Thursday, the NBA released the first returns for All-Star voting and LeBron James led the Western Conference with over 2.2 million votes. The same day, the league released a memo informing teams that they had reached an agreement with the NBPA to have an All-Star game in Atlanta in March.
However, there seems to be a general lack of interest in an NBA All-Star game this year, even among the players that are expected to participate it like James.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star game this year,” James said after the Lakers’ win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star game, but it’s the agreement that the Players’ Association and the league came about.
“[There was] a short offseason for myself and my teammates — 71 days — and then coming into the season, we were told we were not having an All-Star game so we had a nice little break. Five days from the 5th to 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season, my teammates as well, some of the other guys in the league.
“Then they throw an All-Star game on us like this and it breaks that all the way up. It’s pretty much kind of a slap in the face and we’re also still dealing with a pandemic, still dealing with everything going on, and we’re going to bring the whole league into one city that’s open. Obviously, the pandemic has absolutely nothing to do with it at this point when it comes to that weekend. Obviously, as you guys can see, I’m not very happy about it, but it’s out of my hands.
“I’ll be there if I’m selected, but I’ll be there physically, not mentally.”
James might be the highest-profile player to speak out against the 2021 NBA All-Star game so far (if for no other reason than the fact that it doesn’t get much more high-profile than him), but he’s not the only one that has. On Wednesday, Sacramento Kings guard said that he thinks it would be “stupid” to for the NBA to host an All-Star game after all of the precautions put into place to have a season in the first place.
So if the players don’t want it, the amount of fan interest has to be the driving motivator, right? Not according to our latest SB Nation Reacts poll, where 61% of the fans that participated voted that there shouldn’t be an NBA All-Star game this year.
Perhaps the pushback from James and other stars will be enough for the NBA to cancel it altogether, but right now, it looks like we’re headed for the most awkward All-Star weekend in NBA history — like, more awkward than when DeMarcus Cousins found out that he was traded in the middle of his All-Star media availability.
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