The league conducted a not-so-traditional NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta on Sunday (Monday IST). All events like the three-point contest and Skills Challenge were held in one day, with the NBA following multiple health and safety protocols. The decision to host the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta was taken earlier this year despite all the safety concerns among rising COVID-19 cases.
Brian Windhorst says around 150 players spent All-Star weekend in MiamiMarch 9, 2021
"I was told it was in the neighborhood of 150 players in Miami over the weekend." ð³
(Via The Hoop Collective Podcast) pic.twitter.com/X7iTijgVfR
While the NBA All-Star 2021 game was conducted in Atlanta, players who were not part of the game were allowed to travel during the NBA All-Star Weekend. Now, as the second half of the season begins on Wednesday (Thursday IST), the NBA is reportedly worried about multiple players that spent their NBA All-Star 2021 break in Miami.
During the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective Podcast, Windhorst reported the news, stating that the league is now worried about the 150 (approximate) players that had made their way to South Florida during the All-Star break. As per Windhorst, the NBA knows the number of NBA all-star players in Miami since they had to undergo COVID-19 tests when they are in Miami and sign up for them.
However, Windhorst added that the report was a bit old, and the number could have crossed 150 players. The testing site is apparently at the Miami Heat facility, where all the apparatus is set up. He added that due to a large number of players in town, a schedule was given and a drive-thru-like setup was made with multiple lanes. The facility had to make the necessary schedule as to handle the unexpected numbers.
Players themselves have been critical of the All-Star Weekend, not sure why the game had to happen. Players like LeBron James and James Harden have spoken up even on Sunday, admitting that the decision is indeed out of their hands.
"I just think under these circumstances with what we're going through still with the pandemic and everything with the season, I just thought we could've looked at it a little bit differently," James said while speaking to the reporters. He added that the whole thing is out of his hands, and he can only control what he can.
James Harden labelled the All-Star game as forced. "I think, just in general, this All-Star game is kind of forced and thrown upon us," Harden added. "This entire season is tough. It’s difficult. A lot of craziness has happened throughout the course of the year".
Despite that, the league announced on Monday (Tuesday IST), that no one was tested positive after the game. This includes players, coaches and all other officials at the event. However, Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were both ruled out hours before the game due to contact tracing.
Team LeBron won it all at the All-Star game on Sunday (Monday IST). James had only four points in the 13 minutes he played. Giannis scored 35 points, also winning the MVP award, making it majorly into the NBA All-star highlights. Damian Lillard and Steph Curry followed with 32 points and 28 points respectively. With captain Kevin Durant sidelined with his injury, Bradley Beal ended up scoring team-high 26 points. Kyrie Irving followed with 24 points. Harden and Jayson Tatum both scored 21 points apiece in the 170-150 encounter.
While Team LeBron raised $1.25 million for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Team Durant will be donating $500,000 for the United Negro College Fund.