LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be opponents in rival conferences, however they share the identical sentiments relating to the league’s plans to carry an All-Star Sport in March in Atlanta.
Contemporary off a 33-point, 12-rebound efficiency in Milwaukee’s 123-105 win at Cleveland on Friday night time, Antetokounmpo backed James’ place on the sport taking place within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe each participant was trying ahead to these 5 days, seven days, regardless of the days are. We have to all comply with the massive canine,” Antetokounmpo stated, referring to James. “The massive canine says he has zero pleasure and nil vitality for the All-Star Sport, and I am the identical method. I actually proper now do not care in regards to the All-Star Sport. We can not see our households.”
“Like, I am unable to fear in regards to the All-Star Sport. I need to see my household. I need to go see my little brother in Spain, I would like my brother to come back see me,” he added. “So, I am the identical method. I’ve bought zero vitality, zero pleasure. On the finish of the day, in the event that they inform us we’re gonna present up, we have to do our job. I am at all times gonna do my job, I am at all times displaying up, displaying the correct instance. However on the finish of the day inside, deep down, I do not need to do it. I need to get some break.”
Antetokounmpo’s remarks got here a day after James criticized the league’s All-Star Sport plans. Different stars spoke out towards the sport Friday, together with the Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden and the LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard.
Antetokounmpo was second behind Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant within the Japanese Convention’s frontcourt within the first fan returns of NBA All-Star voting.
The reigning back-to-back MVP and Defensive Participant of the 12 months has performed previously 4 All-Star Video games, citing his 2020 expertise in Chicago as being “very enjoyable for the followers.”
“On the finish of the day, if we now have the All-Star Sport, I hope followers may be there and we may give again to them,” Antetokounmpo stated. “On the finish of the day, if we now have the All-Star Sport simply to have the All-Star Sport and don’t have any followers, I do not see the purpose of getting the All-Star Sport.”
Antetokounmpo, like James, stated he was beneath the impression that the league would not maintain the yearly showcase till studies indicating in any other case started to floor. He stated he would a lot slightly use the time to decompress from basketball slightly than competing on that night time.
“I thought of it clearly coming into the season, the place all we knew it was not going to be an All-Star Sport, it was going to be a time to spend time with our household,” Antetokounmpo stated. “Clearly, when the protocol modifications it is sort of arduous as a result of on the street, your loved ones can not come on the street. Again residence you can not go away the home, you solely can go to the observe facility or to the sector and you do not have time to take your loved ones to a pleasant dinner or your loved ones approaching the street or like simply escaping the sport.”
“Guys are entitled to their emotions selections and every part. I believe the job for the union is strive to ensure our gamers are wholesome and secure. That is one thing that was a choice by the league and we’re positively, day in and time out, making an attempt to determine it out however we now have 450 gamers that we’re at all times making an attempt to get perception from and it is powerful so we are attempting to determine it out proper now.”
Harden on Friday night time stated he feels “the identical method” in regards to the All-Star Sport as stars reminiscent of Antetokounmpo and James.
“There’s a lot happening as far we’re making an attempt to calm the virus down — and we’re placing on an occasion, you already know?” Harden stated. “I do know what the reasoning is for, however I really feel like, particularly with a condensed schedule, it appears like every part was pressured upon gamers. It is already draining to be enjoying loads of video games in every week. I really feel like that was every week for us to sort of calm down, be with our households and sort of take a step again away from basketball.”
Leonard stated the league’s resolution is matter of valuing “cash over well being.”
“I imply, everyone knows why we’re enjoying it. You already know, there’s cash on the road,” he stated. “It is alternative to make more cash. … Simply placing cash over well being proper now, just about. Yeah, we’re enjoying video games now and it’s nonetheless a pandemic. We’re doing all these protocols and guidelines, so it does not actually shock me.”
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, who’s president of the gamers union, responded Friday to destructive feedback made by gamers in regards to the All-Star Sport. He stated he has had latest discussions with gamers reminiscent of James and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and acknowledged the issue of the league’s schedule and being away from household.
“We get on calls and we attempt to determine it out with totally different conditions of fellows who’ve been enjoying loads of video games who have not actually had a lot of breaks,” Paul stated. “I am certain I am not the one man within the league that lives with out their household, so guys take a look at that break as a chance to see their households.”
Paul added: “The union has at all times bought the complete physique of gamers in thoughts. However feelings occur, guys have emotions and also you gotta be capable to categorical them and I respect that.”