NBA All-Star 2021 Could Have Major Consequences


The NBA has announced that the 70th All-Star game will proceed on March 7 in Atlanta, but not without its controversy. (courtesy of Twitter)

Amid a time of such uncertainty, the NBA plans on holding its 70th All-Star game in Atlanta on March 7, despite backlash from the league’s brightest stars. This comes almost one year to the day since the NBA postponed all games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 11, 2020, the sports world was put to a halt as the NBA indefinitely suspended its season following a positive COVID-19 test from Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert. We now stand just one year later and months after the NBA “bubble” which allowed the season to proceed without one positive test due to strict protocols.

The NBA is now roughly 30 games into its 2020-2021 season, and 30 games have already been postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases and contact tracing. Players are still subject to daily testing, banned from nightlife and have been given orders to stay in their hotel rooms when on the road. In short, players are under strict guidelines to limit contact from outside sources.

So the question is, why have an All-Star game now? With cases rapidly increasing, such strict guidelines and so many games already postponed, this seems counterintuitive to the “health and safety protocols” NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been preaching. Even one positive case at All-Star 2021 could lead to half the league having games cancelled due to some of the biggest stars either contracting the virus themselves or via contact tracing.

This is also without mentioning the NBA having its shortest offseason ever and players like Lakers forward Lebron James looking forward to the five-day break after having only two months of rest before the start of the new season. James stated he has “zero energy and zero excitement” for playing in this year’s All-Star game. The two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo sided with Lebron saying “We all gotta follow the big dog, man,” when asked about his thoughts on having an All-Star game this season.

There is a positive though, as the NBA stated its goal for this All-Star game is to support historically Black colleges and universities while also helping with COVID-19 equity efforts. Instead of the traditional three-day weekend, this All-Star break will consist of one day only where the Skills Challenge and Three-Point contest will take place hours before the actual game. The dunk contest will also be a part of the festivities; it will take place during halftime.

All in all, the NBA’s choice to have an All-Star game this season raises the question of if they truly put the health and safety of their players above all else like they have been preaching for so long. Nonetheless, this All-Star weekend is promoting a good cause, and being crammed into one night will without a doubt make it a spectacular event. Whether it be for a crazy three-pointer All-Star starter Stephen Curry hits, a ferocious Lebron dunk or multiple players bringing the virus back to their home markets, All-Star “weekend” 2021 should be one to remember.