Luka Doncic and LeBron James, in a Dallas-Lakers.Marcio Jose Sanchez
The alarm that warned of the beginning of the nightmare for the NBA and world sports sounded on March 11, 2020. Thursday marks one year of the hasty suspension of that game in which the Utah and Oklahoma players formed for the opening jump. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell had tested positive for COVID-19, the beginning of a succession of bad news and an entire year of abnormality. In this context comes the 70th edition of the All Star that is held in Atlanta, at dawn from Sunday to Monday Spanish time, the strangest since it began to be played in 1951. The restrictions due to the pandemic will make this an occasion different completely. The usual weekend in which the rookie games were distributed or, lately, the emerging promises, the triples and dunk contests, the endless conventions to the greater glory of the great multinational sports, the press conference carousel and promotional events, the exclusive parties in style organized by the players themselves or their agents and the culmination of the All-Star match, has been compressed into a single day. Nothing will be the same despite the fact that, at the last minute, the State Farm Arena in Atlanta will have the presence of a select group of spectators. This has begun to happen in half of the league's courts after a year closed to the public due to covid-19
More information All Star NBA 2021: schedules, players and teams of the
All-Star game The show it will be held in one session and will not include the Rising Stars game. LeBron James , Stephen Curry, Antetokounmpo , Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, and just about all of the best, with the exception of the injured Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Devin Booker, will try to entertain and entertain themselves at the season's best convention as chosen by the fans. , the players themselves, a panel of the press and finally the coaches. Devin Booker was not in the first instance among the reserves designated by the coaches to be in the All Star. LeBron James vindicated the Phoenix forward and sent a message in which he assured that he is the player who has been most disrespected. Silver Adams, who has that power, re-fished Booker to replace the injured Anthony Davis. But at the last minute, Booker has also had to resign due to injury and has been relieved by Mike Conley. There was also controversy because Damian Lillard was not included in the starting quintet of the West, since they voted more for Doncic. Doncic himself said that perhaps the Portland Trail Blazers figure deserved to be an All Star starter before him. His stats are similar (29.8 points, 8 assists and 4.3 rebounds from Lillard and 28.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 9 assists from Doncic) and Portland is fifth in the West with 21 wins, three more than Dallas. , eighth.
LeBron James will be at the appointment, as he has done without interruption since 2005 and will be the captain of one of the teams as he has been since this formula was started in 2018. But this time we will have to guess where he will have his mind set the great figure of the NBA, because a month ago, when the Players Association agreed with the NBA to celebrate the All Star despite the pandemic, LeBron took it quite badly. "I have zero energy and zero desire for an All Star this year," he said. “My teammates and I have had little rest, 71 days, between season and season. And at the beginning they told us that there was not going to be All Star and at least we were going to have a little relaxation. Well, I take it like a slap in the face. I will be physically, but not mentally ”. He was not the only one who grimaced at the appointment. "We have an incredible League, but I don't think that in the middle of a pandemic, we should celebrate an All Star," said Paul George.
The NBA has made the interests that advised the celebration of the All Star prevail. The League sees the event as a very important occasion to bring the League closer to fans around the world and to obtain an important economic benefit. The income it generates is not fixed, although sources familiar with the television contracts affirm that it amounts to about 60 million euros, 50.1 million euros. The Chinese national television (CCTV) will return to broadcast NBA games coinciding with the All Star. It had suspended broadcasts, in October 2019, in retaliation for a tweet by the then general director of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey in support of the protesters for the independence of Hong Kong, and that CCTV considered "a challenge to Chinese national sovereignty and social stability." The NBA was also guided by pragmatism when choosing the venue for the All Star, initially planned in Indianapolis. He finally chose Atlanta, headquarters of TNT, with which he has a contract to broadcast the matches
No fans and no parties
Everything is so strange at the All Star in Atlanta that the highest authorities involved have tried to dissuade the fans to attend the event. “We are going to be trading in a mini bubble. There will be no events for fans. We appreciate your support and hope that you will watch the game on television. It's a television-only event, ”says Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner. Atlanata Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms asked fans not to travel to the city and to bars and nightclubs not to host parties. Still, the city of Brookhaven, a suburb of Atlanta, has passed a measure so that bars and restaurants can stay open until four in the morning. "I think the state of Georgia has made the decision to keep its restaurants and clubs open," says Silver. “It is your right to make that decision. All we can do, on behalf of the NBA, is promise that we will not participate in that nightlife in any way. Our players will be on a work quarantine protocol while in Atlanta. ”
Players participating in the All Star will fly in private jets and will be subject to the same health and safety protocols that the league has operated under this season. All in order that the event contributes to maintaining the constant declines of a League that, like all of them, is suffering the effects of a year of pandemic. Only once was the All Star canceled. It was in 1999 due to the lockout that reduced that season to 50 games. This season has also been highly conditioned by the pandemic. The previous one ended in October, this one began in December and the 82 regular matches that each team played were reduced to 72. Now, the All Star will be held, albeit intensively and despite the absence of public and parties and the reluctance of some figures