Damian Lillard Discusses Decision to Hold 2021 NBA All-Star GameFebruary 10, 2021
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard remained diplomatic regarding the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will reportedly take place March 7 in Atlanta.
Following Portland's 106-97 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, Lillard told reporters he would "be perfectly fine" if they didn't stage an All-Star Game, citing his two newborns and the strain their deliveries put on his fiancee. However, he acknowledged why the event may be necessary for the overall health of the league:
Some prominent names around the league have been more critical than Lillard on the topic.
"I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year," Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James told reporters last week. "I don't even understand why we're having an All-Star Game."
Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo referenced James' comments and echoed the sentiment, per ESPN's Eric Woodyard:
"I think every player was looking forward to those five days, seven days, whatever the days are. We've got to all follow the big dog. The big dog says he has zero excitement and zero energy for the All-Star Game, and I'm the same way. I really right now don't care about the All-Star Game. We cannot see our families."
Brooklyn Nets star James Harden was of a similar mindset:
Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul serves as the president of the National Basketball Players Association. He explained the union always works to the players' best interests:
Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
"I talked to 'Bron maybe a week or two ago. I talked to Steph. A few guys." NBPA president Chris Paul on #NBAAllStar game as guys like LeBron James have been outspoken against it. "Emotions happen. Guys have feelings and you got to be able to express them and I respect that." https://t.co/d0CGrs7I4c
The Athletic's Sam Amick spoke to a source who said the situation in Atlanta for All-Star weekend is "basically going to be a mini-bubble."
Under the tentative plan, players would arrive in Atlanta on March 6 and leave shortly after the All-Star Game ends, per Amick. Upon arriving in Atlanta, their travel would also be limited to their hotel or State Farm Arena.