Every year, the NBA fraternity holds onto their excitement for the highly anticipated All-Star game- the best of the league teaming up into one grand showcase of basketballing.
However this year, the excitement is stale, or rather could be said, indifference.
Several eyebrows were raised after the announcement of the All-Star game this year, with the pandemic still being prevalent in all its malevolence. From the likes of defending champion LeBron James to the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, stalwarts of the league thumbed down the league’s decision to go ahead with the exhibition match.
All-Star Game, but without the NBA’s stars
Alongside the absence of the buzz for this year’s All-Star, the slam dunk and 3-point contests are also set to miss the presence of some of the league’s current top performers, such as Zion Williamson, Anthony Edwards and Damian Lillard.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports recently revealed the players who have nodded be a part of the Slam Dunk, 3-point and skills challenge participants, and the list is void from the three names who could have enthralled the already unexciting All-Star of 2021.
Towering at 6 feet 7 inches, the 20-year-old power forward of the New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson, made history as becoming the fourth youngest player ever to be selected for the All-Star.
However, according to sources cited by Yahoo Sports, Williamson is not eager to travel to Atlanta to take part in the Slam Dunk Contest, as the interest lies in spending time with the kith and kin during the weekend break.
Minnesota Timberwolves teenage sensation Anthony Edwards has also followed suit. The 19-year-old shooting guard, who recently set the fandom on its toes with one of the most flabbergasting dunks of all time, has rejected taking part in the contest as well.
Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers veteran who has been on fire this season, has also turned down the NBA’s request to take part in the 3-point contest on Sunday, citing rest purpose to be the reason.
The 70th NBA All-Star Game will take place on 7th March at the State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, shifted from its original location Indianapolis after it was chosen to host the entirety of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament to comply with the COVID-19 protocols.
Team LeBron will be coached by Jazz’s Quin Snyder, while Team Durant will be under the helm of 76ers’ Doc Rivers.