Thursday night, Philadelphia 76er Seth Curry played one half of basketball and didn’t look like himself. He told the coaching staff he wasn’t feeling well and sat out the third and fourth quarters entirely.
Curry only recently returned from a COVID-19 diagnosis and quarantine that kept him out for two weeks, and head coach Doc Rivers, who doubles as father-in-law, said this about the shooting guard after the game:
“He just looks tired and he’s looked like that for a while. We just need to be safe and we’re in uncharted waters with this. He said he didn’t feel great and that’s all we needed to hear. We just have to be very careful right now.”
The Sixers will play it safe, and the NBA, too. Right?
No, I guess not, because the league and Players Association agreed to hold an All-Star Game this season:
NBA tells teams that they'll have a finalized agreement with the NBPA on All-Star game in Atlanta by next week, according to memo obtained by ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 5, 2021
This is a horrendous idea.
You’ve had numerous games postponed this season because of COVID. Teams have not been able to field full squads. The Sixers used seven guys against Denver, played a depleted Miami Heat team (twice), and have squared off this season against myriad opponents who are missing key players.
The NBA’s sole priority should be to minimize unnecessary interactions and focus on putting together a safe and steady regular season, and adding an All-Star Game is the diametric opposite of that.
“If I’m going to be brutally honest, I think it’s stupid. If we have to wear a mask and do all of this for a regular game, then what’s the point of bringing the All-Star Game back?
“Obviously, money makes the world go round, so it is what it is.”
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year. I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
“We’re still dealing with everything that’s been going on, and we’re going to bring the whole league into one city that’s open? Obviously, the pandemic has absolutely nothing to do with it at this point when it comes to that weekend.
The NBA originally planned to use this time to pause, which would be a welcome break for James and other players who went deep into the Disney bubble and didn’t get to decompress during a typical offseason period. It would be smart to break for that reason, but also to try to get the COVID situation under control and perhaps take another look at the feasibility of getting the players vaccinated. Commissioner Adam Silver spoke recently about line jumping in order to educate the public and spur good will in the African-American community, and perhaps that idea would be met with a better response in one month’s time, when more of the general public has received the needle.
Regardless, the optics here just look ridiculous. You’ve had games cancelled and players with COVID-19. Now we’re going to add unnecessary travel for an unnecessary game and put people at risk… unnecessarily?
It’s a bad idea. Insanely dumb.