The NBA’s best players have not been shy about their feelings on a possible All-Star Game. Almost all of them are against the idea. De’Aaron Fox started the wave on Wednesday by calling the concept “stupid,” and LeBron James took things a step further by calling the proposal “a slap in the face.” Unsurprisingly, the reigning regular-season MVP agreed with the defending Finals MVP, as Giannis Antetokounmpo stood behind LeBron by telling reporters “we all gotta follow the Big Dog, man.”
“At the end of the day, if we have the All-Star Game, I hope the fans can be there,” Giannis said. “And, we can give back to them, but at the end of the day if we have the All-Star Game just to have an All-Star Game and don’t have no fans, I don’t see the point.”
Antetokounmpo added that he would prefer to spend the break with his family, and that like LeBron, he lacks any energy or enthusiasm for the event. The proposed All-Star Game in Atlanta has received widespread criticism from fans, media and players alike. While the league has reportedly introduced a number of safety precautions, the idea of bringing players and coaches from all across the NBA to one location creates the possibility of a super-spreader event. Additionally, the season’s condensed schedule and shortened offseason has already deprived players of rest. Many were depending on the All-Star break to get it, but now likely won’t.
But the NBA is ultimately a business, and the league has been struggling since the beginning of the pandemic. The chance to monetize an All-Star Game would help both owners and players recoup some of what has been lost. That, to this point, has outweighed the concerns levied from virtually every camp, but sooner or later, the NBA will have to address the fact that the players it expects to participate in this All-Star Game have made it clear that they don’t want to be there.