After Kings guard De'Aaron Fox called the NBA's plans to hold an All-Star Game "stupid," he now has some of the game's most influential voices backing him up.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James have each spoken out over the past two days about this year's All-Star Game, which is expected to be held in a single-night event on March 7 in Atlanta.
After Friday's 123-105 win over the Cavaliers, Antetokounmpo told reporters he shared James' earlier sentiment that he had no enthusiasm about playing in the game, but acknowledged following James' lead on the matter: "We all gotta follow the big dog, man," per Marc Stein of The New York Times.
On Thursday, James said he had "zero energy and zero excitement" for the event, adding, "I don't even understand why we're having an All-Star Game," per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. James has played in 16 All-Star Games out of his 17 NBA seasons.
The response to an All-Star Game during a global pandemic across the league has been mixed. Nuggets coach Mike Malone is in the same camp as James, Antetokounmpo and Fox, preferring a break from this season's compacted schedule. "Personally, I’d much rather stay home with my wife and my kids,” Malone said. “This schedule has been so dense, you don’t really have time with your families.”
Though outspoken in his views on holding the game, James said he would participate if selected, adding "I'll be there physically, not mentally.” James is a near certainty to be chosen, as he was the Western Conference's leading vote-getter in the league's first voting update.
Plans for this year's event have not yet been finalized, as the league and players' association are still working out health and safety protocols. It remains to be seen what the NBA's next move will be if more stars of James and Antetokounmpo's ilk speak out against the All-Star Game.