The NBA season is now at its mid-way point and you know what that means, the NBA All-Star game. In normal years, the All-Star game is filled with fans and celebrities, but this year is a little bit different. In fact, the All-Star game wasn’t even going to happen this year because of the shortened season. When the season was first scheduled, there was no All-Star break, there was just a “halfway point break.” But as the season went on, Commissioner Adam Silver and the National Basketball Player Association (NBPA) decided that there should be an All-Star game after all. This decision was received with mixed feelings across the league and across the country. One major idea that people were talking about was how would they control different players from different teams to come together without having a Covid outbreak. As a matter of fact, two players (Center Joel Embid and Point Guard Ben Simmons) couldn’t play in the All-Star game because a barber that they went to had Covid, and since the players were considered in close contact, they could not play.
Another worry would be players not getting enough rest. The NBA season started fairly early considering how the previous season ended in October 2020 and the 2020-2021 season started in December 2020. But even with everyone saying that there should be no All-Star game, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver pushed very heavily to have an All-Star game. “There were obviously those who thought we shouldn’t play without fans, thought we shouldn’t play in the bubble, thought we shouldn’t be playing in a very serious way because of the social justice issues roiling this country. So I certainly hear the other side of this issue here. And I’ll lastly say it seems like no decisions during this pandemic come without uncertainty and come without risk. This is yet another one of them and, yet, it’s my job to balance all those interests, and ultimately it feels like the right thing to do to go forward,” Bleacher Report quoted.
Now with all of this, the NBA scheduled the All-Star game to be on March 7 in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides the actual game, the event was also to have the NBA Three-Point Contest, Skills Challenge, and Dunk Contest. The NBA All-Star game would also support all different HBCUs across the nation.
With the NBA All-Star game good to go, the players had to be selected from the two captains, Lakers Small Forward LeBron James, and Nets Small Foward Kevin Durant. Durant was still suffering from a hamstring injury, and while this would not allow him to play, he was still able to select his team. Kyrie Irving would later take the Captain spot for Durant. On team LeBron, the starters were Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, and Nikola Jokic. His reserves were Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Rudy Gobert, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Domantos Sabonis, and Ben Simmons. The starters for team Durant were Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Kwahi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, and Zion Williamson. His reserves were Mike Conly, James Harden, Zach Levine, Donovan Michell, Julius Randle, Nikola Vuchevic, and Devin Booker. Anthony Davis, Joel Embid, and Ben Simmons were unable to play due to injuries and Covid.
Ultimately, the game was entertaining to watch with team LeBron winning thanks to an outstanding performance from Giannis who went 16-16 from the field. He would later win the Kobe Bryant MVP award. LeBron is also 4/4 when it comes to being the captain of an All-Star team. This would put him second all-time in wins for the All-Star game. He is only trailing the Eastern Conference who won it five times in a row, so if LeBron wins again as a team captain, he would tie as the all-time leader in an NBA All-Star game.
The Three-point Contest was great to watch with the ending coming down to the very last shot. The contest had SG Jaylen Browne, SF Jayson Tatum, SG Zach Levine, PG Mike Conley, SG Donovan Mitchell, and PG Stephen Curry. After many rounds and a lot of threes, Curry would ultimately beat out Conley on the very last shot to win his second Three-Point Contest.
This year’s Dunk Contest included players like Cassius Stanley, Obi Toppin, and Anfernee Simons. After three rounds of intense and cool dunks, Simmons would pull away from the competition with hitting a dunk where he would kiss the rim of the basket.
This year’s skills contest included players like SF Robert Covington, SG Luka Doncic, PG Chris Paul, PF Julius Randel, PF Domantas Sabonis, and Nikola Vucevic. Ultimately, Domantas Sabonis was able to beat Nikola Vucevic in the last round. Sabonis was finally able to get his trophy after being the runner-up from last year.
The 2021 NBA All-Star game will forever go down in the history books as one of the most interesting and unforgettable All-Star games that the NBA has ever seen.