It looks like the 2021 NBA All-Star Game may happen after all.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the NBA and NBPA are working toward an agreement to hold an All-Star Game at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on March 7.
Story filed to ESPN: The NBA and NBPA are progressing toward an agreement for an All-Star Game on March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, a single-night event that would encompass an Eastern vs. Western Conference game and skills competitions, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 2, 2021
The original 2021 All-Star Game was supposed to be held in Indianapolis on Feb. 14. It was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Indianapolis was awarded the 2024 All-Star Game instead.
Participation in All-Star Weekend has been mandatory in the past, but Woj reported that an opt-out clause, similar to the one for the Orlando bubble, is being discussed.
More than just a game?
The normal All-Star weekend festivities will reportedly be stripped down and condensed. That would be due to player health and safety — since they’re playing during a pandemic, the focus would be on getting the players in and out of Atlanta safely and quickly. Additionally, many of the regular events won’t be held since there will be few, if any, fans in attendance.
While the focus is on the game as the major event, the NBA and NBPA are considering more. According to Woj’s report, both parties are also discussing adding a skills competition to the festivities. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Monday that the dunk contest and 3-point shootout could be part of that.
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