Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said fans should not travel to her city for the NBA All-Star Game next month.
She also discouraged bars and clubs from promoting events around the exhibition game, which is scheduled for March 7.
“Under normal circumstances, we would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game, but this is not a typical year,” Bottoms said, per NBC Atlanta. “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. 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 All-Star Game was slated to take place in Indianapolis. Those plans were tabled in November because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, however, agreed to hold the game in Atlanta.
Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a crowd of 1,200-1,500 consisting of local healthcare workers and students/staff from local HBCUs as well as family members of the players is expected for the game.
Several NBA players, including Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, have spoken out against playing the game in the face of a pandemic.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James told reporters earlier this month. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
–Field Level Media