The NBA continues to press forward with plans for a 2021 All-Star Game on March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta despite public protests from multiple noteworthy stars.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added a new twist to the story on Wednesday when he reported that the league intends to hold this year’s slam dunk competition during halftime of the All-Star exhibition.
Wojnarowski wrote that the NBA and National Basketball Players Association expect to finalize details on this year’s All-Star format and also health and safety protocols by the end of the week. It’s believed the All-Star Game will be held in a makeshift “bubble” that involves players arriving to Atlanta on private planes and staying in private accommodations away from standard hotel guests.
Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James are among players who have criticized the NBA holding an All-Star Game amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Fox suggested he would only participate in the contest to avoid facing a fine, while James called adding an All-Star Game to the schedule “a slap in the face” after he and others assumed the planned winter break from March 5-10 would allow all league personnel to recharge their batteries.
“Short offseason for myself and my teammates, 71 days,” James explained last week. “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.”