Written By: William Morales
Location: All Star Weekend; Atlanta, GA
Every year since 1951, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has selected the top 24 individuals in the league to participate in the All-Star Game. For the first time in history, some of the all-stars do not want to play. Some of the biggest names in basketball, including Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, De’Aaron Fox, have publicly stated their discrepancies with the upcoming event in Atlanta.
The biggest name in the league and one of the All-Star Game captains, Lebron James, had a word or two for the NBA:
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said after recording a triple-double in the Lakers’ 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on Thursday. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.” (The Guardian)
(Via Getty Images)
Lebron later expressed his concerns are due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the league’s problem with having an All-Star Game throughout the first two months of the season. The front-runner for MVP also called the event “a slap in the face” and mentions he will miss his 5-day break that was going to be in place without the game.
Chris Paul, an All-Star Game reserve, also had his own two cents to put in. Paul agrees with Lebron, however he has also taken into consideration the opinions throughout the league:
“I’m sure I’m not the only guy in the league that lives without their family. So, guys look at that break as an opportunity to see their families. It’s a lot of different things going on right now. But you just hope that guys understand that decisions that are being made – especially as far as, the union has always got the full body of players in mind. But emotions happen. Guys have feelings. And you’ve got to be able to express them. And I respect that.” (ClutchPoints)
Chris Paul is the President of the National Basketball Players Association, so he works diligently to oversee approximately 450 players. He has worked with the NBA to explain these views, but at the end of the day, the All-Star Game has been viewed as the best option at this time. Chris Paul discussed the ins-and-outs of these ideas to Lebron, Steph Curry, and other all-stars.
These concerns are of high priority for the NBA; when the literal face of the NBA, Lebron James, states his problems with a decision, it will cause upheaval through the basketball community. One day after Lebron showed a lack of compliance, De’Aaron Fox, star point guard for the Sacramento Kings, did the same:
“If I’m going to be brutally honest, I think it’s stupid… Obviously, money makes the world go round, so it is what it is.” (NBCSports)
(Via Getty Images)
Fox also complained about the idea of having an All-Star Game if the league clearly wants the players to continuously stay healthy. He says, “We have to wear a mask and do all this for a regular game”, and questions why even host the event. He makes valid points, although they may have been somewhat abrasive.
The largest mumbling around the league was mentioned by De’Aaron Fox and is also pretty obvious to the NBA fanbase: The All-Star Game revolves around entertainment and enjoyment, as it truly doesn’t mean much, but it does bring in boatloads of money. In the most recent All-Star Game, 8 million viewers tuned in and with advertisements, the NBA and TNT each received a share of $24 million earned. The apprehension with the All-Star game includes both the health and the money being made. The players will be participating, but the real question is: How many of the players will have their head in the game?