NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made a highly unpopular decision when he chose to go through with actual events during the All-Star break, essentially combining all the elements of a normal weekend into one day. The All-Star Game itself — along with the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Shootout, and Slam Dunk Contest — will all take place on March 7 in Atlanta.
This decision was not only met with criticism from players, but fans as well, who saw it as a clear financial decision that could potentially risk the health and safety of everyone involved. Many players also saw it as a chance to have an extended break after the shortened offseason.
Silver did his best to defend the decision, saying that safety was still their priority in planning out the weekend. He hopes that the players in Atlanta will operate similarly to how they did in the Walt Disney World bubble, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:
“We always begin with the health and safety of our players and everyone involved,” Silver said. “It was no different than our view going into the bubble. If we could keep our community healthy and safe, then it was appropriate to proceed. And we looked at the All-Star Game the same way. We know how to operate a bubble. We’re going to operate a mini-bubble in Atlanta that will be constructed no differently than the operation we ran either for the NBA in Orlando or for the WNBA in Bradenton, Florida, or for the G League for that matter is operating in right now in Orlando.”
The NBA rightfully received significant praise for their bold success with the bubble from the 2020 postseason. However, it is a poor comparison to say that All-Star Weekend will look like that, simply due to the circumstances surrounding it.
Perhaps Silver and the league have a plan they feel legitimately confident in, but they’ll need to hope that there are zero new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases that get linked back to All-Star Weekend. If even one positive test arises from the weekend in Atlanta, it will reflect extremely poorly on the NBA.
Devin Booker selected as Anthony Davis’ replacement for All-Star Game
Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis was supposed to join LeBron James in Atlanta. However, his ongoing Achilles and calf issues will hold him out, meaning James will be the Lakers’ sole representative.
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns was selected as the replacement after being one of the biggest snubs from the original roster.
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