The NBA will hold its All-Star game in Atlanta on March 7th. While some high-profile players like LeBron James and De'Aaron Fox have spoken out against the game being held this season, commissioner Adam Silver recently told ESPN that this is "the right thing to do." Here's Silver on The Jump:
"There were obviously those who thought we shouldn't play without fans, thought we shouldn't play in the bubble, thought we shouldn't be playing in a very serious way because of the social justice issues roiling this country. So I certainly hear the other side of this issue here. And I'll lastly say it seems like no decisions during this pandemic come without uncertainty and come without risk. This is yet another one of them, and yet it's my job to balance all those interests and ultimately it feels like the right thing to do to go forward."
So while the ESPN headline kind of makes it seem like Silver is calling it the right thing to do, it's more like it's the right thing to do for the business. This is not the moral or virtuous thing for the NBA to do. It's simply what is best for the league overall.
Damian Lillard actually explained the situation pretty well last week.
If the league is trying to present this as something that is for the good of anyone but themselves it has to do with their $2.5 million donation to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The crowd for the game will be made up of players' friends and family as well as 1,000 fans from HBCUs. It was a no-brainer for the NBA to go along with Chris Paul's suggestion that HBCUs be involved, but the NBA does not need to hold a game to justify doing something.
The game is going to take place in a little over two weeks and then they're going to get back to the business of finishing the season. It's all wholly unnecessary in a pandemic, but also essential to ensure the short- and long-term financial security of the league. Basically, this is just what we do now.