By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA has told players that there will be an All-Star game in Atlanta next month. Most players are in agreement that holding the exhibition game during a pandemic is not a great idea.READ MORE: Three Men Charged In Cheating Scheme At Encore Boston Harbor
That includes a Celtics player agreeing with a Lakers player. Granted, the rivalry isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still a bit strange when the two sides unite.
LeBron James said Thursday that he has no real desire to participate in any All-Star festivities this season. He’ll participate if (or rather, when) he’s voted in by fans, but it’s not something he’s really pleased about.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said Thursday night. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game, but it’s the agreement.”
James thinks it’s a foolish idea to bring players from around the country together during a pandemic, and called it a “slap in the face” by the league.
“We’re also still dealing with a pandemic, dealing with everything that’s been going on, and we’re going to bring the whole league into a city that’s still open,” James said of having the game in Atlanta. “Obviously, you guys can see I’m not very happy about it, but it’s out of my hands and I’ll be there physically if I’m selected. I’ll be there physically, but not mentally.”
That echoes what Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox had to say about the All-Star game following a win over the Celtics on Wednesday night, calling the idea “stupid.”
“If we have to wear masks and do all this for a regular game, then what’s the point of bringing an All-Star Game back? But obviously, money makes the world go ’round, so it is what it is,” said Fox.READ MORE: Stores Are Closing But This Discount Chain Plans To Move In
On Friday, Celtics guard Kemba Walker entered the mix. The point guard won’t be making his fifth All-Star squad this season, but he agrees with what James had to say about forcing an exhibition on players this season.
“I’m probably not going to be selected so I could care less. We’ve all seen what LeBron said. I agree,” Walker told reporters Friday afternoon, ahead of Boston’s game against the Clippers in Los Angeles. “He’s a smart man and has been around. He’s a leader. A lot of what he’s said is correct. He feels the way he feels.”
Walker said it won’t be an issue for him, since he’s “probably going to be on vacation” when the NBA’s biggest stars have to gather in Atlanta. But given how the pandemic is disrupting the season, with teams essentially on lockdown when on the road, Walker doesn’t understand why an All-Star game is happening.
Life during the pandemic is hitting hard as the Celtics are currently on a five-game road trip. They are in Los Angeles on Friday, which is a trip that players usually circle first when the schedule comes out. Not this year.
“It sucks. Everything sucks at this point. It’s hard,” Walker said of hitting the road this season. “You can’t leave the hotel, you can’t do anything. It’s not much fun at this point. Coming to L.A., one of my best friends lives out here and I can’t see him or interact with him.
“It’s tough, but we have a job to do,” he added. “I’m blessed and we’re all blessed to play the game we love, but you have to make the sacrifice.”
As for getting a COVID-19 vaccine, Walker said that the Celtics have had discussions about the vaccination, but he wants more information before making a decision for himself.MORE NEWS: 103-Year-Old Man Celebrates Birthday While Getting COVID Vaccine At Lowell General Hospital
“We’ve definitely had a couple of meetings about it. As far as myself, I’m not sure,” he said. “I need to learn some more about it. “We’ll see more down the line. I don’t know much about it yet.”