As the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association made their announcement last week about nearing an agreement to play an NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta scheduled on March 7, several players of the league disliked the plan.
Among those stating their dismay includes LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard.
Until after Saturday night’s victory over the Golden State Warriors, Mavericks star Luka Doncic haven’t shared his feelings about the growing controversy.
Doncic, being the one who received the second-most fan votes from last season’s All-Star Game, his opinion towards the matter is certainly relevant.
Yet upon his neutral answer, Doncic perhaps is cognizant that as a 21-year-old who is only in his third NBA season, his voice should take a backseat to players and league executives who have been around much longer.
“For me it’s whatever is going to be is going to be,” Doncic said. “If I get selected then obviously I will be grateful and take advantage of the opportunity.
“If not then I will enjoy my time off.”
When the NBA announced it would hasten the start of this season to begin on Dec. 22, instead of the February or March timeline that was widely believed to be the plan, the league flatly stated there would be no All-Star Game.
But, much as pressure from ESPN/ABC factored in to the pre-Christmas start, it appears longtime All-Star weekend broadcast network TNT is playing a behind-the-scenes role in having a bare-bones All-Star Game in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said, though adding that if the game is in fact scheduled he would grudgingly play. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
In the case of the Lakers and fellow NBA finalist Miami Heat, the offseason lasted only 71 days, following the completion of last season’s playoffs in the Disney World bubble.
“Coming into this season, we were told that we were not having an All-Star Game, so we’d have a nice little break,” James said. “Five [March] days, from the 5th through the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season.
“And then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this and [it] just breaks that all the way up. So, um, pretty much kind of a slap in the face.”
Doncic, perhaps showing wisdom beyond his years, will wait patiently towards the issue be finally settled.