Despite the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has caused trouble for teams all season, the NBA decided to follow through with its annual All-Star Game, taking place on Sunday night in Atlanta.
The decision has not been popular throughout the league, with many stars such as LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers expressing discontent due to the lack of regard for health and safety.
James is still playing in the game, captaining one team with Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets captaining the other. During his pregame media availability though, he again questioned the NBA for playing this game although conceded it’s out of his control, via Mark Medina of USA Today:
LeBron James on All-Star game: "Under these circumstances with what we’re going through still with the pandemic & everything with the season, I just thought we could’ve looked at it a little bit differently. But that’s out of my hands. I can only control what I can control."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 7, 2021
All-Star weekend has already had one hiccup with Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons both being ruled out on Sunday morning due to contact tracing after their barber tested positive.
They did not come in contact with any other players though, so the league is still following through with the game with each team having 11 players.
James is not the only one that has raised questions about this year’s All-Star weekend with players like Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden all doing the same. Kyrie Irving also declined to do his pregame interview session on Sunday morning.
This marks James’ 17th straight All-Star appearance though as he is in the midst of another outstanding season for the Lakers, averaging 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists while only missing one game.
James nursing sore ankle
The game that James missed was the final one before the break, a loss to the Sacramento Kings. Frank Vogel revealed that the reason for his absence was a sore ankle that he had been nursing for a few games.
James is still playing in Sunday night’s game, so it will be interesting to see how many minutes he plays and if the ankle is an issue.
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