Sportress of Blogitude

Adam Silver: 2021 NBA All-Star Game festivities a ‘television-only event’

NBA commissioner Adam Silver made it clear in comments this week that the league is discouraging fans from descending on Atlanta, Ga., for Sunday’s scaled-down 2021 NBA All-Star Game event.

In an interview this week with ESPN, Silver laid out how the NBA wants to keep things as safe as possible with this weekend’s festivities in Atlanta, Ga., at State Farm Arena, home of the Hawks, given it’s being held despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The message within the NBA community is that we’re going to be operating in a mini bubble,” Silver said. “There will be no NBA functions [for fans] to participate in. We appreciate their support and hope they’ll watch our All-Star Game on television … this is a television-only event in Atlanta.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has echoed Silver’s sentiments about fans traveling to the city. However, several events in Atlanta this weekend are purportedly associated with the All-Star Game, though it merits noting these parties and such are not league-endorsed or NBA-affiliated festivities.

“I think in terms of the nightlife in Atlanta, the state of Georgia has made a decision to keep its restaurants and clubs open,” Silver said. “That’s their right to make that decision. All we can do, on behalf of the NBA, is commit to them that we will not be participating in any way, in that nightlife.

“Our players are going to be in a work-quarantine protocol while they are in Atlanta.”

The league’s annual marquee event is traditionally played out over an action-packed weekend. However, after coming to an agreement last month with the NBPA, the NBA elected to compress the festivities into a one-night, star-studded spectacle.

One regular event failed to make the cut, however, as the Rising Stars Challenge will not be held. Rosters for the canceled exhibition, though, were named.

Silver previously stated that the league will implement what is being described as a “mini-bubble” of sorts in Atlanta, similar to how things operated when the NBA resumed last season at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Going forward with All-Star Game festivities despite the NBA previously postponing the event due to the ongoing pandemic has generated no shortage of controversy.

Several of the league’s highest-profile stars — including LeBron James, Bradley Beal and Giannis Antetokounmpo, not to mention Karl-Anthony Towns, among others — have questioned the wisdom of holding the event.

COVID-19 protocols and the logistics involved in keeping players safe of course are of the utmost importance to both the league and players’ union. Silver praised the collective efforts of all the parties involved in putting on Sunday’s event.

“The ability to operate in a pandemic has required an enormous amount of shared sacrifice,” Silver said.

“The players and the coaches are front and center, but there are thousands of people behind the scenes who are making, who are enabling the NBA to continue to operate. And many of them are making tremendous sacrifices in their lives. In some cases, working in 24 hours shifts because of the nature of the PCR testing we’re doing … and travel schedules and quick decisions that need to be made in terms of contact tracing and quarantining, it’s never-ending.

“It really has taken all of our collective will.”

Some fans were previously expected to attend the All-Star Game festivities this weekend, but Silver’s comments this week have ruled out that possibility.

Despite the backlash and controversy surrounding the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, some buzz is being generated due to the belief that the Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk Contest will benefit from the injection of some serious star power into the annual skills competitions.