NBA All-Star Game, skill events will be March 7 in AtlantaFriday, February 19, 2021
NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — The 70th NBA All-Star Game will be staged March 7 in Atlanta along with such skills events as the Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout, the league announced yesterday.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association established COVID-19 safety protocols for the event and will commit more than $2.5 million to COVID-19 relief organisations and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The annual matchup will be played in the home arena of the Atlanta Hawks and despite the league's plans before the season began to have a mid-season break for all players without the exhibition contest.
LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounpo and James Harden are among the stars who have criticised the league staging an All-Star Game after the shortest off-season in NBA history due to the 2019-20 finish being delayed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest will be staged before the All-Star Game with the Dunk Contest taking place during half-time.
The game will feature the same format used last year with teams competing to win each quarter and playing to a final target score during an untimed fourth quarter.
Rosters for the NBA All-Star Game will be decided through a draft process where the two captains, the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes, will alternate picks from a pool of talent without regard to conference affiliation.
Based on the most recent fan balloting released, that would pit Team LeBron James against Team Kevin Durant.
NBA All-Star Game starters were due to be announced later yesterday.
Extra COVID-19 safety precautions atop the NBA's normal protocols include private travel to and from Atlanta, the creation of a “mini bubble” environment within one hotel for players and coaches and enhanced COVID-19 testing.
There will be no spectators at the game, no ticketed events or fan activities and no hospitality functions as part of the All-Star Game.
Each player will be allowed to have four guests at the All-Star Game plus a fifth person whose role is health-focused, such as a trainer. Those people must self-quarantine from February 27 and be tested before and after arriving in Atlanta.
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