• Brian L. Barefield

Atlanta’s top elected official issues strong statement to the NBA about All-Star Weekend

Photo Credit/NBA

During normal times the city of Atlanta is well known for its ability to host a sporting event in grand fashion. From the Super Bowl to the NBA All Star-Game, “Chocolate City” welcomes visitors with open arms. But we are not living in normal times. As the nation still battles with the coronavirus, the NBA All Star-Game will not be welcomed if some elected officials have the final say.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a statement today regarding the NBA All Star-Game that the league is trying to host in Atlanta.

“Under normal circumstances, we would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game, but this is not a typical year. I have shared my concerns related to public health and safety with the NBA and Atlanta Hawks,” Bottoms said. “We are in agreement that this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta to party. There will be no NBA sanctioned events open to the public and we strongly encourage promoters, clubs, bars, etc. not to host events in the city related to this game.”

The All-Star Game is currently scheduled for March 7th even though some of the NBA’s biggest stars have expressed their feelings on not having the game altogether due to COVID-19.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has been very vocal about his disagreement with the event when players are being tested multiple times on a daily basis to prevent the contraction or spreading of the deadly virus.

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said two weeks ago after a nationally televised game against the Denver Nuggets. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.

“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. I’ll be there if I’m selected. But I’ll be there physically, but not mentally.”

The NBA still plans to have the event as planned with stronger health and safety protocols put in place to help protect players and fans.

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