Giannis Agrees with LeBron James, Has 'Zero Energy' for 2021 NBA All-Star Game

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 6, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, left, drives against Cleveland Cavaliers' Isaac Okoro in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Add Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to the list of high-profile players less than enthused about the NBA and NBPA's decision to hold an All-Star Game amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eric Woodyard of ESPN provided the back-to-back NBA MVP's remarks following the Bucks' 123-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday:

Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward LeBron James expressed his honest take to reporters on the matter, noting how his defending NBA champion team went through a short offseason after it won the 2020 NBA Finals on October 11 before the 2020-21 campaign started December 22:

"Short offseason for myself and my teammates. It was 71 days. And then coming into this season, we were told that we were not having an All-Star Game, so we'd have a nice little break.

"Five days (in March) from the fifth through the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season—my teammates as well, some of the guys in the league. And then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this and just breaks that all the way up. So, um, pretty much kind of a slap in the face."

Sacramento Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox gave some remarks to reporters Thursday as well.

"If I'm going to be brutally honest, I think it's stupid," Fox said. "If we have to wear a mask and do all of this for a regular game, then what's the point of bringing the All-Star Game back?"

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The NBA and NBPA agreed to have an All-Star Game in Atlanta on Sunday, March 7, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic. It's a single-night event that will also include skills competitions, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who provided more details, context and insight:

"The NBA has a midseason break set for March 5-10. Some teams will resume the season on March 11. The NBA is expected to release a schedule for the second half of the season in the next two to three weeks, sources tell ESPN.

"NBPA president Chris Paul has been an advocate of the Atlanta All-Star Game idea, including a plan to use the game to benefit historically Black colleges and universities and COVID-19 relief, sources said.

"Nevertheless, this is an idea that has been met with resistance and skepticism from players and from team executives. Even with protocol safeguards around the game, many see it as an unnecessary risk for the league, players and support personnel."

The NBA finished the 2019-20 season in a bubble-like environment at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, but this season has been played without one as teams play coast-to-coast as usual, with some schedule changes to reduce travel.

The league has been able to get through at least 25 percent of its schedule thus far, albeit with some hiccups along the way.

Of note, the Memphis Grizzlies had four straight games postponed due to health and safety protocols. Also, stars such as Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and Los Angeles Clippers forwards Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have been forced to miss time due to league health and safety protocols as well.

For now, the league is approaching the end of the first half of its schedule, which has an end date of March 4 before the league goes on a six-day hiatus minus the currently-planned March 7 All-Star Game.