Kevin Durant has not looked up to the Brooklyn Nets since Feb. 13 against the Golden State Warriors, and will at least be ruled out through the All-Star break due to a hamstring injury. But even if he does not want to play in the game, he will still act as one of the providers pr. Rachel Nichols from ESPN.
Durant and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James were named as cains for the 2021 All-Star Game by virtue of getting the most fan votes at their respective conferences. As is the new tradition for the event, the teams are no longer based on conference affiliation, but are chosen pick-up style by two teams. This year’s draft is set for March 4 ahead of the game on March 7 in Atlanta.
The 2021 All-Star Game was originally scheduled to take place in Indianolis, but prior to the season, the league announced it would not happen due to COVID-19 and in conflict with the NCAA Men’s Tournament being held in its entirety in and around Indianolis. However, it did not take long before they changed course and the league and players eventually agreed to hold a one-night event in Atlanta that will include both the game and the All-Star Saturday Night events. The skill challenge and the 3-point competition take place before the game, while the Slam Dunk competition acts as the break.
But while the show continues, not everyone is excited about it. A number of players have criticized the idea, including James, who earlier this month called it a “slap in the face”. “I do not even know why we have an All-Star game,” he said. “I want to be there physically, but not mentally.” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has also expressed concern about hosting a pandemic, saying this is a “made for TV event” and urges people not to travel or hold events around the game.