The NBA has been greatly criticized for their U-turn regarding this year’s All-Star Game, deciding to hold the event in Atlanta on March 7 after having already taken it away from Indianapolis, the initial host.
The league’s best players, such as the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard joined L.A. Lakers star LeBron James in speaking out against the plans, saying the players should get the much-needed break at the halfway point of the 2020-21 season.
But NBA All-Star 2021 is going ahead and will even feature player competitions on a single night that are usually organized throughout the weekend. NBA commissioner Adam Silver admitted finances were a factor in making the decision but not as big as fan interest, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:
“It’s the largest factor, the amount of engagement we get from our fans around All-Star,” Silver said. “Historically, in the modern digital age, we have roughly 100 million people vote for our All-Stars, and we came out about the same this year even with a shortened voting period.”
In the lead-up to the 2021 All-Star Game, captains for both conferences will compile their rosters in a two-round draft on March 4. James and his Eastern Conference counterpart Kevin Durant (who will miss the All-Star Game due to injury) will select players from the pool of starters and reserve players determined by fans, players and coaches.
The Utah Jazz’s Quin Snyder will coach the Western Conference’s team; the Philadelphia 76ers’ Doc Rivers will lead the East.
Devin Booker replaces Anthony Davis in All-Star Game
Booker has earned his second straight selection; Suns teammate Chris Paul will join the 24-year-old guard marking the first time Phoenix has multiple All-Stars in the same season since 2009-10.
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