In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NBA formatted its schedule to minimize the risk of infection.
The league only released the first half of the 2020-21 season schedule as it navigates playing outside of a bubble environment. So far, more than 20 games have already been postponed and need to be made up at a later date.
Among the changes to the schedule was the cancelation of the annual All-Star Game. All-Star Weekend was set to take place in Indianapolis but was scrapped when it became apparent that it would not feasible to hold all the events and festivities with fans in attendance.
However, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, it appears there is some momentum to host the All-Star Game after all:
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are discussing the possibility of still holding an All-Star Game in early March — possibly in Atlanta, sources tell ESPN.
Atlanta appears to be gaining traction as the host city for the game, with players like Chris Paul offering their support:
NBPA president Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns has been a proponent of the idea, which would allow for a game to financially benefit historically Black colleges and universities and COVID-19 relief. Turner Sports, which has the television rights to the game, is headquartered in Atlanta. There have been discussions about using the Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena or an Atlanta-based HBCU campus gymnasium, sources said.
Despite coronavirus cases affecting several teams, the NBA and NBPA seem to be comfortable moving forward with this idea especially if they can use the revenue generated as a way to aid in their efforts to support social justice and help those affected by COVID-19.
The league has a break from March 5-10, meaning the game would potentially be played should they want to keep it on a Sunday like they would in a normal season. The virus could throw a wrench in both parties’ plans, so it will be interesting to see whether or not they will be able to pull this off.
All-Star Game voting open
While the NBA has yet to decide if or when it would be held, voting for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game began in full earnest this week.
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