Conducting an NBA All-Star Game this year is a plainly poor idea yet the league is forging ahead with plans to gather the best players in the world for a subdued Atlanta weekend. There have been rumblings from those who would be involved decrying the normalcy, including De'Aaron Fox, who called the prospect "plainly stupid."
And while De'Aaron Fox is a nice young talent, he lacks LeBron James' ability to move the conversation. As does everyone else in the circuit. James spoke on the prospect of participating after a Lakers' victory last night and he's very much not into it.
"I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year," he said. "I don't even understand why we're having an All-Star Game."
"Short offseason for myself and my teammates, 71 days," he continued. "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."
Also, there is a pandemic. Gathering all the top talent in one place probably isn't a great idea. An outbreak, though not likely, would have the potential of severely derailing the season. A season everyone has agreed to plow through with heads down in the interest of the bottom line, rightly or wrongly.
So what now? James indicated that if selected (spoiler: there's a good chance he is) then he'd be there in body, but not necessarily mind or spirit. He won't be alone.
Now, one could hold out hope that the NBA will listen to James, Fox, and really anyone perceptive enough to see the folly in all this. But it's difficult to imagine they'll change course at this late date.
Should be fun to watch a bunch of players who don't want to be there gritting it out with even more indifferent defense.