The Los Angeles Lakers — and the rest of the NBA — sit one month out from the All-Star break, which was meant to go from March 5-10 and not include an actual game due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
However, the league and the Players Association reportedly came to an agreement to add an All-Star Game and skills competition that will take place March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
The decision was surprising for many, especially the perennial All-Stars like LeBron James who were going to get a week off that they normally wouldn’t. Now, at least 24 players will have to go to Atlanta and play a meaningless game when they could have been at home with their families.
James, who is no stranger to voicing his opinion, was particularly irked by the decision. “I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James bluntly said. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game, but it’s an agreement that the Players Association and league came about.
“Short offseason for myself and teammates of 71 days, and then coming into this season, we were told we were not having an All-Star Game. So we were going to have a nice little break of five days from the fifth through the 10th; an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season. Then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this, it just breaks that all the way up. Pretty much a slap in the face.
“We’re also still dealing with a pandemic, still dealing with everything that’s been going on, and we’re going to bring the whole league into one city that’s open. Obviously the pandemic has absolutely nothing to do with it when it comes to that weekend. Obviously you guys can see I’m not very happy about it, but it’s out of my hands.
“I’ll be there if I’m selected. I’ll be there physically but not mentally.”
As much as it would be an honor for James to be selected to a 17th consecutive All-Star Game, his thoughts on it are completely justified. He has already sacrificed for the league this season by starting on Dec. 22 when he initially wanted to wait until Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Beyond that, playing brings on a completely unnecessary risk with the virus still ravaging communities. To have players fly from all over the county to congregate in Atlanta makes little to no sense, just as James expressed in his comments.
LeBron passes Chamberlain on all-time field goals made list
In the Lakers’ blowout win over the Denver Nuggets, James found himself setting yet another record. With his basket of the night, he passed Wilt Chamberlain to become third all-time in field goals made.
He also broke his own record for most consecutive games to start a season with at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. James reached 23 consecutive with Thursday’s performance.
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