Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis Offer Damning Take on Commissioner’s Project

Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Anthony Davis #3 and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the aftermath of All-Star weekend, Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis offered some comments that might not reflect glowingly on Commissioner Adam Silver’s latest pet project.

After the success of the Play-In Tournament and the buy-in from players in the inaugural In-Season Tournament this season, the All-Star game was next.

But a return to the familiar East-versus-West format couldn’t prevent a 211-186 final score.

“I think it’s something we need to figure out,” James said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on February 19. “Obviously from a player’s perspective, it’s fun to get up and down. But at the end of the day, our competitive nature don’t like to have free-flowing scoring like that.”

Silver’s reaction to the outcome went viral, as the commissioner sounded less than pleased with the lack of competitiveness, at least defensively, in the game.

And there may be nothing he can do to course correct.

James played fewer than 14 minutes, the third-fewest on the team. He finished his historic 20th All-Star appearance with eight points, four rebounds, and three assists.

After dealing with an ankle injury for most of the season, he may have welcomed the light work.

“But I think the good thing that came out of tonight was none of the players were injured, and everybody came out unscathed or how they were before the game started,” James said, per McMenamin. “So it’s a deeper conversation.”

Anthony Davis Cites Injury Concerns for Lackluster All-Star Game

“Obviously the fans and the league and everybody wants to be competitive, but then you also as players think about trying not to get hurt,” Davis said, per McMenamin. “Obviously injuries are a part of the game, and no one wants to get hurt in the All-Star Game.”

Davis played more than 22 minutes in the game, logging six points, eight assists, and eight rebounds with one block.

The nine-time All-Star, Davis, also admitted there were some “mixed emotions” about the event.

“All these guys here are very valuable to their teams,” Davis said. “You try to go out there and compete a little bit and not just be a highlight show. But at the same time, do you guys really want to see somebody going down for a dunk and somebody going to contest it and, God forbid, something happens in the All-Star Game when it could have been avoided?”

That this message is coming from two of the league’s biggest stars is very telling.

Lakers’ Anthony Davis, LeBron James Know Health is Paramount

James — who injured his hand in last year’s game — said that he might not be ready to play for the Lakers’ first game back on February 22 due to the ankle. He has missed seven games this season, a notable pace after he made no more than 56 appearances in each of the last three seasons.

It’s a similar story for Davis, who has missed just four games this season. His streak of 56 games or fewer in a season extends back to the 2020-21 campaign.

This issue is also larger than just them, though.

Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards admitted he would “never” view the event as being especially competitive. This year’s losing score would have won the game in 2023. But the final tally has long been above what might occur in the averaged regular season game.

Perhaps it should be less of a surprise, then, that players put a premium on health (and rest) over further exertion in a regular season that spans seven months.

It may also mean there is nothing Silver can do to fix the All-Star game.