There has been so much hand-wringing over the All-Star Game ever since it was reported that the NBA was interested in hosting its midseason showcase in Atlanta that it was easy to lose sight of the fact that the league had yet to confirm the game.
If there was any hope that the NBA would acquiesce to the loud chorus of superstars who objected to holding the exhibition during a pandemic, that is no longer the case. On Thursday, the league officially confirmed that the 2021 All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, March 7. There will also be a skills challenge, 3-point shootout, and dunk contest. The game will follow last year’s format with an untimed fourth quarter when both teams play to a target final score.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was on TNT after the game’s starters were announced. (ICYMI: Kawhi Leonard was picked as one of the the starters for the second consecutive season), and he provided some clarity as to why the league pushed to hold the All-Star Game. The primary reason was fan engagement, but he also said, “We should be judged ultimately by our ability to operate during a pandemic... For us, All-Star is a part of our league, no different than the games we play.”
If the NBA is going to carry out a season, in Silver’s mind, that naturally means having an All-Star Game as well. It will be the 70th All-Star Game in league history, presumably a milestone that the NBA would like to have celebrated with fans in attendance, but one that will happen on schedule anyway.
Despite the concerns about having the game, I find myself increasingly excited about the spectacle, just like I am every year. I can’t wait to see the reserves and the team draft and debate about all the picks, even though I originally felt pretty that the game shouldn’t be played. Have your feelings changed about All-Star?
More news for Friday:
- The recent rash of injuries has had the silver lining of allowing the Clipper bench to flourish.
- As a result, there’s an argument to be made that the Clippers don’t need to make any trades.
- Even so, here’s an exhaustive rundown of each team’s assets heading into the trade deadline.
- In honor of Kawhi Leonard being named an All-Star starter, here are five moments that have defined his season so far.
- Speaking of All-Star, there are always some kooky votes when you dig into the ballots. Sean Highkin spoke to some players about their voting process.