Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard Echo LeBron James’ All-Star Game Criticism
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard
Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James made headlines for his comments surrounding the newly added All-Star Game.

Originally, the NBA’s plan was to give their players a five day break to re-charge at home. They changed course on that decision after the season was underway, adding in a game on March 7 in Atlanta.

Since James’ comments, multiple All-Star level players around the league spoke up in agreement with him. It appears that the people around the league who will most likely have to participate in this game are the ones least excited about it. Milwaukee Bucks star and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo along with the L.A. Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard have also pushed back.

In a scathing indictment of the NBA, Antetokounmpo agreed with James and added his own issues with the decision, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN:

“I think every player was looking forward to those five days, seven days, whatever the days are. We’ve got to all follow the big dog,” Antetokounmpo said, referring to James. “The big dog says he has zero excitement and zero energy for the All-Star Game, and I’m the same way. I really right now don’t care about the All-Star Game. We cannot see our families.”

“Like, I can’t worry about the All-Star Game. I want to see my family. I want to go see my little brother in Spain, I want my brother to come see me,” he added. “So, I’m the same way. I’ve got zero energy, zero excitement. At the end of the day, if they tell us we’re gonna show up, we’ve got to do our job. I’m always gonna do my job, I’m always showing up, showing the right example. But at the end of the day inside, deep down, I don’t want to do it. I want to get some break.”

Leonard alluded to financial factors overweight safety in the eyes of the NBA:

“I mean, we all know why we are playing it. You know, there’s money on the line,” he said. “It’s opportunity to make more money. … Just putting money over health right now, pretty much. Yeah, we are playing games now and it is still a pandemic. We are doing all these protocols and rules, so it doesn’t really surprise me.”

While cancelling an entire season due to the ongoing pandemic is out of the question, the other major sports leagues never even considered hosting an All-Star Game. The NBA’s decision to impose the exhibition came just days after what was supposed to be the NFL’s Pro Bowl, which they obviously did not have.

Commissioner Adam Silver and the league have clearly taken the good will and praise they got from the brilliance of the Walt Disney World bubble, and used it in order to make unsafe decisions to increase earnings.

Perhaps the stars coming out against the game will force them to re-evaluate before March 7 comes around.

LeBron, Kevin Durant lead first voting returns

Regardless of what happens with the game, there will still be voting to determine the 2021 selections. The leaders of the first voting returns are James and Kevin Durant, who would be the team captains if those results hold.

The remaining players also tracking to be All-Star Game starters are Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic and Leonard.

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