The NBA All-Star Game has been a long-standing tradition in the league since 1951. Traditionally, the Association’s best from each conference come together on one night to battle it out, playing for bragging rights and more importantly, to put on a show of electrifying and monumental basketball.
However, the All-Star Game is anything but traditional this year, as the league and people around the globe are still battling with the coronavirus disease.
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James Harden Rips NBA for Hosting All-Star Game
After months of delegation and original reporting that the NBA would just announce the players who earned the honors and move on without playing a game, the league decided they could put together a small event in Atlanta.
Many notable players including Nets’ star James Harden were not exactly thrilled about the event.
“I think, just in general, this All-Star game is kind of forced and thrown upon us,” said Harden via Nets Daily.
Harden is one of many players in the Association who are wary of the current crisis taking the world by storm and is disappointed in the decision by NBA officials to continue with the All-Star game this year.
“I feel like we basically had a game every other day during the regular season, so, you know, you finally get an opportunity to have close to a week off, be able to take a deep breath, and be with your family and things like that,” Harden continued
“We just have this one-day event, it’s pretty tough. This entire season is tough. It is difficult. A lot of craziness has happened throughout the course of the year.”
LeBron Sounds off on 2021 All-Star Game
Harden is not the only one who is against this year’s All-Star Game. 2020 NBA Finals MVP LeBron James spoke about the event to reporters via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and admitted that he has “zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year.”
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Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons Will Not Play on Sunday
A big concern about having the All-Star Game was the traveling of participants from various states and cities and how safe that would be considering the differing regulations and mandates.
Those concerns became valid as of Sunday morning, just hours before the game, when 76ers’ stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were ruled out of action due to possible contact tracing.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the barber of Embiid and Simmons tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the league’s health and safety protocols, the 76ers’ stars are not allowed to take the court on Sunday
First-time all-star Zach LaVine spoke to the media about Simmons and Embiid’s contact tracing on Sunday.
“From what I’ve heard, they did everything right,” LaVine Said via Sports Illustrated
“I think they had close contact with their barber, and the barber was getting tested daily. It’s not like they were trying to hide it, or they were doing something wrong. They did everything right, and they still [were]in the wrong place at the wrong time. Extremely unfortunate and sad, but I think, with the time that we live in right now, you cannot be too safe.”