The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have agreed to stage the All-Star Game in Atlanta on March 7, The Athletic reported Thursday. Details are being finalized and could be announced this week, per the report.
The league canceled its traditional All-Star Weekend, originally scheduled for this month in Indianapolis, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The NBA’s midseason break is scheduled for March 5-10.
Not all players are convinced the gathering is a stellar idea amidst a season shifted in many ways by the pandemic.
“If I’m gonna be brutally honest,” Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said in an ABC interview, “I think it’s stupid.”
Fox, who is having an All-Star caliber season to date, said he would still play in the game if selected because of the high-dollar fine for skipping the event.
According to earlier reports, the game could be held at the Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena or at one of the campus gyms of the city’s historically black colleges and universities.
NBPA president Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns has voiced his support for the latter idea, which would spotlight HBCUs and provide COVID-19 relief funding.
Hosting an All-Star Game is a massive undertaking. Atlanta-based Turner Sports could televise the game, but the annual midseason showcase would still require a significant effort to coordinate travel arrangements for players, staff, and officials during a time of uncertainty.
The game would likely have extremely limited attendance if fans are permitted to attend at all.
Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid will likely represent the Eastern Conference in this year’s edition of the All-Star Game.