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NBA Players Criticize All-Star Game Plans


Andrew Cohen

February 8, 2021

Many NBA players are voicing concerns over the league’s coronavirus protocols and its plans to host an All-Star Game in Atlanta on March 7 amid the pandemic.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard and De’Aaron Fox are among a group of NBA stars who have publicly disagreed with the NBA’s All-Star Game plans. LeBron James was among the first to express such a sentiment, calling the planned exhibition “a slap in the face” for players.

“We all know why we’re playing it,” Leonard said, according to The New York Times. “It’s money on the line. There’s the opportunity to make more money.”

“If we have to wear masks and do all this for a regular game, then what’s the point of bringing the All-Star Game back?” added Fox, a top guard for the Sacramento Kings. “Obviously, money makes the world go ’round so it is what it is.”

The NBA has already postponed 23 games this season due to COVID-19 and contact tracing protocols—although confusion reigned about those protocols when it came to the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant. As for the All-Star Game, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told the NYT that it “has been an important tradition throughout the history of the league and remains one of our top events for global fan interest and engagement.”

In another pandemic-related issue, a widespread amount of NBA players are skeptical about getting vaccinated for COVID-19, according to The Athletic. NBA SVP of medical affairs Dr. Leroy Sims will hold mandatory Zoom meetings with all 30 teams this month to provide vaccine education to players.

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