With the NBA All-Star Game just a couple of weeks away, the Mayor of Atlanta is discouraging fans from flocking to the city.
The NBA is anticipated to release details regarding its 2021 All-Star Weekend at some point this week. The league’s initial announcement of a March 7th date has been met with mostly mixed reviews, but a lot of backlash from high-profile players like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and James Harden. Still, the league seems to be pushing forward with the plans despite positive tests and contact tracing taking place what now seems like every week.
Now, leadership in the host city of Atlanta is speaking out about what the weekend could possibly entail for visitors.
In a statement, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms expressed concern over the All-Star Weekend. The itinerary would involve players from all over the league traveling to Atlanta even though there have been 25 NBA games postponed because of health and safety protocols so far this season.
Atlanta Mayor discourages traveling for NBA All-Star Game
Atlanta has been one of the least restricted U.S. cities as far as health and safety protocol goes since the pandemic started. Naturally, we would assume that this is one of the main reasons the city was selected to host the NBA’s events. Knowing this, Mayor Bottoms felt compelled to discourage fans from flocking to the city for what would normally be a bustling weekend.
“I have shared my concerns related to public health and safety with the NBA and Atlanta Hawks. We are in agreement that this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta to party,” stated Bottoms. “There will be no NBA-sanctioned events open to the public and we strongly encourage promoters, clubs, bars, etc. not to host events in the city related to this game.”
The Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena would be the host site for the game. The Hawks are one of ten NBA teams who have been allowing fans into their arenas for games at a limited capacity this season. While the All-Star Game won’t be ticketed, there will be an anticipated attendance of about1,200-1,500 people. These will be local health-care workers and students/staff from local HBCUs, which will be featured at the event, and some family members of All-Star players.
We’ll have to see how the league chooses to present information regarding All-Star events given the extremity of the health and safety concerns that come with COVID-19.