Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James made it clear that he isn’t a fan of the league’s plans for the upcoming All-Star Game that is set to take place in Atlanta, Georgia in March, despite COVID-19 restrictions impacting the regular season.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James, 36, said following the Lakers win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
“Short offseason for myself and my teammates, 71 days,” James explained, pointing to the time between the conclusion of the NBA Finals and the start of the 2020-2021 regular season for his team. “And then coming into this season, we were told that we were not having an All-Star Game, so we’d have a nice little break. Five days [in March] from the 5th through the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season. My teammates as well. Some of the guys in the league.
“And then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this and just breaks that all the way up. So, um, pretty much kind of a slap in the face.”
James also has health concerns regarding going forward with the festivities in Atlanta, where there are fewer state-mandated restrictions compared to other NBA cities. Atlanta is one of only 9 current NBA teams that are allowing fans to attend home games this season.
“We’re also still dealing with a pandemic,” James said. “We’re still dealing with everything that’s been going on, and we’re going to bring the whole league into one city that’s open? Obviously, the pandemic has absolutely nothing to do with it at this point when it comes to that weekend.
“Obviously, you guys can see that I’m not very happy about it.”
Despite his objections, James said that he would play in the game if he were to be named an All-Star this season, which seems like a foregone conclusion.
“It’s the agreement that the players’ association and the league came about. … It’s out of my hands,” James said. “I’ll be there if I’m selected. But I’ll be there physically, but not mentally.”