NBA All-Star Game Will Go On Despite Player Backlash And Mayor’s Uncertainty

Last week Atlanta Mayor Keisha-Lance Bottoms tweeted that the NBA All-Star Game is a “made-for-TV” event and in light of the coronavirus pandemic, fans should refrain from traveling to Atlanta to be a part of the cultural phenomenon.

“Under normal circumstances, we’d be grateful for the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game, but this isn’t a typical year.” “I’ve shared my concerns with NBA and Atlanta Hawks & we’re in agreeance that this is a made-for-TV event only & people shouldn’t travel to Atlanta to party.”

Bottoms also said there will be “no NBA-sanctioned events open to the public” and that the city strongly encourages local businesses “not to host events in the city related to this game.”

So what does that mean? People are sure to travel to Atlanta during All-star weekend. It might not be the same crowd because activities aren’t open to the public, so you won’t see as many families with kids, but the youngsters (18-25) have been looking for a place to gather. This presents them a fine opportunity just let off some steam and interact with groups of people. COVID protocol remains the same until we can get everybody that wants to be vaccinated, vaccinated. However, there is no quarantine in effect and people are free to travel anywhere throughout the United States.

The show must go on.

The crowds won’t be as abundant, but it will be interesting to see how local law enforcement and local government handles any congregation of people from out of state.

The game itself is scheduled for March 7th and will not be open to the public, but some vaccinated healthcare workers and some limited guests of the players will be allowed to watch in person. Bottoms also told businesses “not to host events in the city related to the game.”

The NBA All-Star game is one of many events that had to limit it’s attendance this past year in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus amidst the global pandemic.

In fact the game will be even more limited than the Super Bowl in Tampa Florida, which allowed 22,500 fans for the NFL’s penultimate game. That included the healthcare workers who’ve been on the frontlines fighting this nasty and very deadly virus daily for almost a complete a calendar year. They should be praised and applauded at every turn.

The NFL didn’t have a Pro Bowl but they still had fans vote for the Pro Bowl while they held a virtual event.

Players and their guests that attend the game itself will be subjected to traveling private by plane or car. Players will also not be allowed to leave their respective hotels unless it’s to go to the arena. Players including LeBron James have voiced their displeasure with playing an All-Star game as the country continues to fight the virus.

James even said he has zero energy and zero excitement about having the game, calling it a proverbial “slap in the face” for players who thought the league would do away with the annual mid-season showcase amidst these unprecedented times.

READ MORE: LeBron Passes Wilt, Would Rather Pass On NBA All-Star Game

The league mandated break is March 5-10 and James along with a lot of other players thought they’d get the whole break to rest up for the stretch run of the season.

A typical All-Star weekend includes even more events that usually stretch across four days, but next month’s trip will be just two days as it will require participants and league employees to be in Atlanta on March 6 and 7.

All of the events will take place on the 7th (Game, Dunk Contest, 3-Point Contest and Skills). The (3- Point Contest and Skills Competition) will take place before the game and the (Dunk Contest) will occur at halftime.

One final note of importance is the connection of the game and events to HBCU’s and COVID-19 equity efforts. NBA and NBPA announced it would commit $2.5M in funds and resources towards Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). While also providing support and awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief and vaccines.

This was a point of emphasis for NBPA President Chris Paul. The different NBA All-Star beneficiaries include the following:

  • United Negro College Fund (UNCF) which is the nation’s largest minority education organization.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) which is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the  Black College Community.
  • National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) is the membership and advocacy association of all 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 80 Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs).
  • Direct Relief (Fund For Health Equity) is a humanitarian aid organization in all 50 states and over 100 countries, whose mission is to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies.
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