The NBA and the NBAPA have finally agreed to terms and conditions about the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend. Breaking from traditional festivities where events are stretched along three days, the NBA has announced for such events to take place on the same day. This marks the second time during the pandemic months where the NBA has had to change course and follow a new business model. While many other national professional sports organizations have failed to counteract the health and safety protocols, the NBA, in certain times, has been the standard for openness and connection with fans in mind.
Prior to the NBA All-Star game tip-off, the Skill Challenge and Three-point contest will take place. During the halftime of the game, the Dunk Contest will take place. Under the bright lights of Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena, on March 7th, the NBA will implement a small bubble to control the traffic of players in and out of Atlanta.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the decision to host the game despite criticism.
“It’s a global event for us, and we’re making our best efforts to embrace all aspects of our league to the extent we can through this pandemic and this is just one more opportunity,” said Silver, appearing on ESPN’s The Jump show’s fifth anniversary special Thursday. “I’ll add that of course I’m listening to those who don’t think it’s a good idea, and I think that’s been the cases [sic] in terms of essentially everything we’ve done since we shut down [nearly] a year ago because of the pandemic.
“There were obviously those who thought we shouldn’t play without fans, thought we shouldn’t play in the bubble, thought we shouldn’t be playing in a very serious way because of the social justice issues roiling this country. So I certainly hear the other side of this issue here. And I’ll lastly say it seems like no decisions during this pandemic come without uncertainty and come without risk. This is yet another one of them, and yet it’s my job to balance all those interests and ultimately it feels like the right thing to do to go forward.” Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner
Earlier this week, the NBA All-Star captains were announced with LeBron James heading the West and Kevin Durant heading the East. James’ West team starters consist of: Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, and Luka Doncic. For Durant’s East team, it’s headlined by Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Utah Jazz coach Quin Synder is set to coach one of the teams with 76ers coach Doc Rivers and Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash both up for coaching the other team.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced they would be donating more than $2.5 million to black colleges and schools (HBCUs). The condition, an idea brought up by NBPA president Chris Paul, came in an effort to smooth things within the league. The money will also go into supporting awareness for the Covid-19 care, relief efforts, and social change.
The league has made efforts to make the fans aware they are not to travel to Atlanta and try to attend the events. Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has already asked fans not to congregate for the All-Star Game, or to visit the city.
“I don’t think it will be that difficult,” Silver said, of a public All-Star Weekend. “Our event will not be open to the public … there will be roughly 1,000 people representing those institutions but there will not be tickets open to the public, and I actually agree with the mayor.
We don’t want people to gather for events around this All-Star. There will be absolutely no social functions in Atlanta. No ticketed events. No parties. It is a made-for-television event at this point, and it’s largely in Atlanta because that’s where Turner Sports is located who will host this event … that’s why we are there, so we agree with the mayor.”