We all saw the enormous amount of work that went into relaunching the NBA season last year after the pandemic driven pause. Safe to say we were all in awe of how successful the NBA bubble was after the NBA reopened to complete the remainder of the season. In what was essentially a bubble in the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida. League commissioner Adam Silver and his crew were the gold standard of sports leagues across the globe. They resumed their season and had zero cases in the bubble, equaling zero interruptions in their schedules. Which resulted in the ageless LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers winning the 2019/2020 NBA championship. This was a feat the MLB and NFL were not able to do in their reopening process.
The pandemic hasn’t yet disappeared miraculously, like the former POTUS Donald Trump had boldly predicted–and the 2020/21 season is well under way as of December 2020 and there is no bubble this time around. Meaning the league and all of its players and staff are susceptible to the spread and infection of Covid-19. There has been some hiccups along the way resulting in some players being held out of starting line ups, and the postponing of games. While players are being diplomatic about their public opinions on playing through the process necessary to safely move forward through the pandemic. However, with the announcement of the mid season All-Star game, even the most humble and soft spoken players have become more vocal regarding their frustrations about having an All-Star weekend during a pandemic.
The NBA All-Star weekend. A celebration of the leagues most prolific players and personalities. A huge TV event, full of celebrities, skills competition, 3 point sharp shooting contest, slam dunk challenge. All capped off on its final day with the main attraction. A game featuring the best players from each conference that have been voted in by fans and coaches, going at it on the court for a full game.
Usually falling on Valentine’s Day weekend, it is the biggest attraction in sports during that weekend and it also falls in the middle of Black History Month. Celebrities and stars from across the globe are not only involved in the process thru celebrity all-star games and TV commentary cameos. But most of them either host or are a part of many parties and celebrations throughout the weekend. Sponsorship dollars are not spared.
However in a pandemic, none of the sponsored celebrations will be taking place. The weekend will still feature the 3-point contest, slam dunk challenge and All-Star game. However it seems to be a sloppy, last minute thrown together attempt at cashing in on the hype for the league through its massive TV deal. As all the aforementioned events will be crammed into a one day event.
The leagues biggest names such as LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard are amongst many players that have vocally expressed their disdain about the leagues decision to move forward with the make shift weekend. Some players have said they were looking forward to a few days off to spend with families. A ‘few days off’ is a very uncommon feat this season as the revamped season is a crammed 72-game season with almost every team playing 4-5 games a week.
But the NBA has not become a half a trillion-dollar business by chance. It is a carefully crafted and meticulously maintained conglomerate that has grown exponentially since the goat MJ pretty much saved the league single handedly in the late 80’s.
Here are some of the things that we at View The VIBE are most excited about the 2020/21 NBA All-Star Weekend going down in Atlanta, Georgia on March 7th, 2021.
Slam Dunk Challenge
At the time of this publication, we received the sad news that two time slam dunk champion and 1st time All-Star Zach Levine will not be competing in the slam dunk challenge. Other high fliers such as former two time runner up Aaron Gordon or 2020 champion Derrick Jones Junior have not yet confirmed or denied their participation. Regardless, judging by the level of talent in the league, this event is still sure to deliver a very exciting slam dunk challenge.
3 Point Sharp Shooting Contest
This particular event could see a higher viewership than the slam dunk challenge as the league has seen the highest number of 3 pointers attempted per 48 minutes than any other season in history. Here are some names we would be excited to see in the challenge.
Biggest attraction of this event will be past champion Steph Curry. Fans are sure to tune in to see if this light skinned assassin will prove to the league that he still has what it takes to beat the best sharp shooters of the league. His team mate and past champion Klay Thompson will not be competing this season as he’s out with a leg injury until the 2021/22 season.
Look for names like Sacramento’s Buddy Hield. Miami’s deadly duo of Duncan Robinson and Tyler Hero. A slew of other ballers like Devin Booker, Steph Curry’s brother from the Philadelphia 76’ers Seth Curry and New Orelans JJ.Reddick too.
The main event will surely start out playful and possibly low energy. But as we have seen in the past, all it takes is one three pointer or one explosive dunk to get the competitive juices of the players flowing.
With a successful vaccine roll out currently happening in the US, we are seeing more and more crowds being let back into stadiums. This will surely add to the hype of the events as well as we’ve seen the positive effects of having fans and fan interaction in sporting events.