The NBA’s reported decision to hold the All-Star Game amid the COVID-19 pandemic and shortened season has caused fans, reporters and even players to criticize the league.
Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox called the decision to play an All-Star Game amid the pandemic “stupid.” However, someone whose words have a bit more weight commented on the situation on Thursday.
Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James admitted that he has “zero energy” and “zero excitement” about this year’s All-Star Game, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. He added: “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
James has played in the ASG in 16 of his 17 NBA seasons and will likely make another appearance this year. As a top vote-getter, he has been a captain at the league’s showcase for the last three seasons.
The 36-year-old admitted that he wasn’t expecting to play in an ASG this season based on the conversation before the campaign even began.
“Short offseason for myself and my teammates, 71 days,” James said. “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 5th 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 said he would report to the game, despite his obvious displeasure, if selected for another appearance. He led the Western Conference in voting on Thursday with 2,288,676 votes.
The four-time NBA champion is averaging 25.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game this season while shooting 49.6% from the field and 40.9% from deep. James and the Lakers are third in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.