Miami Heat

LeBron James Wants Longer NBA All-Star Break

The Miami Heat's LeBron James speaks with reporters during the NBA All Star basketball news conference, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in New Orleans. The 63rd annual NBA All Star game will be played Sunday in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

It's more than semantics.

There's a big difference between the NBA All-Star weekend and the NBA All-Star break. The former is for the fans, the latter is for the group of players with three off days penciled into the middle of the season.

As for the players who do take part in the festivities, though, there's nothing at all relaxing about the event.

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is hoping to change that. New NBA commissioner Adam Silver said during an appearance on ESPN radio, via ESPN.com's Marc Stein, he spoke with James during All-Star weekend and the four-time MVP would like to feel some of the reprieve the term "All-Star break" implies:

A guy like LeBron, All-Star Weekend is not a break for him in any way. He's going around the clock with a combination of things the league is asking him to do, personal commitments, and I think it makes sense if we can work in the schedule a few days so the All-Stars can get a break as well.

The NBA Players Association would need to sign off on such a schedule change, Silver added, but those discussions cannot be had before the union selects a permanent replacement for former executive director Billy Hunter.

There's a single day of rest built into the schedule as it stands, but it's nothing more than a travel day for the nine teams set to open the second half on the road Tuesday night.

All-Star weekend is nothing without the All-Stars themselves. This league understands who commands top billing and does everything in its power to give those names marquee placement.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 16: LeBron James #6 and Paul George #24 of the Eastern Conference All-Stars doing an interview before the 2014 NBA All-Star Game on February 16, 2014 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expr
Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images

That exposure benefits the brands of both the league and its superstars. Still, it feels as if there's a reward missing in this equation.

The All-Stars are the ones creating this vacation time. Yet, under the current setup, they're essentially spending the entirety of it on the job while their less heralded peers enjoy a clean weekend slate.

All-Star selection is obviously a major honor, but you can see how it could be a drag at the same time. James' teammate Ray Allen, a 10-time All-Star, had previously said a lengthened midseason break could actually benefit the weekend itself along with its participants, via Bleacher Report's Howard Beck:

We say All-Star weekend, but if you're competing, you never get the opportunity to have time off, because All-Star weekend is jam-packed with activity. And it puts the guys that are playing or competing in such a quandary, because now you don't want to do certain things, and you want to go on vacation. So if you make it a week, I think you almost get full participation of players.

It's hard to say how (or even when) Silver will act, but if nothing else, this is another sign of the open door the new commissioner will keep. If he sees a potential benefit for the league, James may wind up getting his All-Star break yet.

 

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