Earlier this month, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, the N.B.A.’s highest-profile star, said that holding the game would be a “slap in the face” and that he had “zero energy and zero excitement” for it. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks star and the most recent winner of the Most Valuable Player Award, said he agreed. Both are expected to be named All-Star starters.
Other potential selectees have been more open to holding the game.
“I understand both sides,” Julius Randle, a Knicks forward who might become an All-Star for the first time, told The New York Times last week. “And I understand the impact and the benefits it has for the league, if we do have All-Star games. It’s a tough decision. Everything this year has been tough.”
Damian Lillard, who is likely be named to his sixth All-Star team, said recently: “A lot of players are saying, ‘Why are we even having a game?’ And I understand that. If they said, ‘We’re not going to have a game,’ I’d be perfectly fine with it. I just had two newborns, and I would love to spend that extra time at home with my family.”
“But,” he added, “if they say we’re going to do it, I understand that because this is our job, and I understand that with the kind of money we make, you’ve got to make sacrifices.”