LeBron, Durant to captain ‘slap in face’ NBA All-Star Game
LeBron James and Kevin Durant were named captains for next month’s NBA All-Star Game on Thursday as the league confirmed plans for the showpiece despite an outcry from stars.
The league announced Thursday that the 70th NBA All-Star Game will be played March 7 in Atlanta along with such skills events as the Dunk Contest and 3-Point Shootout.
“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will continue our annual tradition of celebrating the game and the greatest players in the world before a global audience,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.
The game comes during a mid-season break that had been meant to give all players a rest after a shorter than usual off-season gap after Covid-19 delayed the 2019-20 NBA Finals, where James sparked the Los Angeles Lakers to the title.
“We came off a short off-season of 71 days and then coming into season we were told we were not going to have an All Star Game so we would have a nice little break,” James said earlier this month.
“Then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this. It is pretty much a slap in the face.”
Silver told ESPN Thursday that he understands the complaints.
“I certainly hear the other side of this issue,” Silver said. “Ultimately it feels like the right thing to do to go forward.”
Silver told TNT that 130 million people worldwide will watch the game and highlights will attract a billion online views, justifying it as the NBA’s top “fan engagement” event.
“It begins and ends with the fans,” Silver said. “We have a huge global audience that follows All-Star. Doing this as a TV event still reaches 99.9% of our fans.”
James was the top overall vote-getter from fans with 5,922,554 to pace the Western Conference while Brooklyn forward Durant led the Eastern Conference with 5,567,106…..read more