The NBA’s decision to host a one-off All-Star Game spectacle – in which fans will vote to select the league’s best players to compete – has caused them to receive a bunch of backlash, mainly from people actually working/playing for the NBA.
Specifically, Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James called the announcement of the game a “slap in the face” for himself and all his fellow competitors. He recently spoke with the media about his dissatisfaction with the NBA’s decision to continue with the All-Star game this year.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year, I don’t even understand why we’re having it.”
“Short offseason for myself and my teammates. It was 71 days. And then coming into this season, we were told that we were not having an All-Star Game, so we’d have a nice little break. Five days (in March) from the fifth through the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season — my teammates as well, some of the guys in the league. And then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this and just breaks that all the way up. So, um, pretty much kind of a slap in the face,” James explained.
Historically the All-Star Game has been an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference event, however, in recent years the game has shifted to having the highest voted players selected as captains for two teams, and those two captains pick their teams in draft format. The league released the first round of early voting this past Thursday, with Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and James leading the way; Durant received 2,302,705 votes and James received 2,288,676.
James has played in an All-Star Game for 16 of the 17 seasons he’s played. He continued to tell the press that while physically he would be at the game if selected, mentally he won’t be committed.
“We’re also still dealing with a pandemic. We’re still dealing with everything that’s been 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,” James concluded, after making sports headlines this week when he surpassed NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain in rankings. Now only Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, the all-time leader, and Karl Malone rank above him.
“That does something for me because I’m a guy who grew up reading about the game, studying the game, studying the players post, past and present,” he told the media afterwards. And I wanted to see who was dominant in their era or who laid the groundwork for young kids like myself who started to play the game when I was nine years old. And Wilt obviously was a big staple of that.”
As of right now the NBA’s All-Star Game will be taking place on Sunday, February 14th.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.