LOS ANGELES — The NBA’s most high-profile celebrity, LeBron James, ripped the league’s plans to maintain an All-Star Game at Atlanta at March while COVID-19 constraints continue to get a grip over the normal season.
“I do not even know why we are with an All-Star Game.”
James, 36, has played the league’s showcase event in 16 of the past 17 seasons in the league and, like a leading vote-getter, was appointed a captain for the previous few seasons since the NBA went off from East vs. West and adopted a draft format to spice up the contest.
“And coming into this year, we had been advised that we were not having an All-Star Game, therefore we’d have a nice little break. Five times [in March] in the 5th through the 10th, a chance for me to sort of recalibrate for the next half of this year. My teammates too. A Few of the men in the league.
“And then they throw an All-Star Game on us like that and simply breaks that the way up.
James also said the obvious health issues of staging the festivities at Atlanta, in which there are far fewer state-mandated coronavirus limitations in contrast to other NBA locales across the nation. The Atlanta Hawks, for example, are among just nine teams permitting enthusiasts in their home games this year.
“We are still dealing with everything that has been happening, and we are going to attract the entire league into a town that is open? Evidently, the pandemic has nothing to do with it at this stage in regards to this weekend.
“Clearly, you guys might see that I am not so pleased about it.”
While expressing his displeasure in no uncertain terms, James stated he’d report for the match if he had been to be appointed an All-Star for its 17th consecutive season. James led the West with 2,288,676 votes at the league’s initial voting returns declared earlier Thursday. Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant headed the East with 2,302,705 votes since the sole real player in the league to look on more ballots than James.
“It is the arrangement that the players’ association and the team came about. … It is from my hands,” James stated. “I will be there when I am chosen. But I’ll be there , but not emotionally.”