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Paul George pushes back against NBA All-Star Game, LeBron James unsure about COVID-19 vaccine

Paul George, NBA All-Star Game
Feb 3, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) handles the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaac Okoro (35) in the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George will be on the court in Atlanta Sunday evening to take part in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. Two other big-name stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers will not be on the court.

Despite being selected for the exhibition game, both of the stars are sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for the virus.

That has been a major backdrop as the NBA attempts to conduct this otherwise meaningless game amid a still-ongoing pandemic in the United States. For his part, George joined others in expressing frustration with the NBA still playing the game.

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Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George not happy about NBA All-Star Game being played

Paul George NBA All-Star Game
Mar 2, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) drives to the basket defended by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

“It is just an unfortunate time in the world where our health and safety should be at the front of the helm,” George told reporters. “I personally don’t agree with the game.”

This comes after Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James got into a bit of a war of words with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about the game being played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s a lot to look at here. As more Americans get vaccinated, the number of cases have been declining on a daily basis. In no way does that mean the virus is behind us.

Given that the NBA itself has had strict COVID protocols and just finished up last season at the Walt Disney World bubble in Orlando, some believe playing a meaningless game makes no sense. Paul George obviously fits into that category.

NBA COVID-19 vaccinations and LeBron James stance

LeBron James NBA Top Shot
Mar 2, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As it relates to moving forward on the season, Silver does not anticipate the league having to resort to another bubble-like atmosphere. The hope is that NBA players can start to get vaccinated, which would enable the season to move forward without hiccups. Silver said recently that it won’t be mandatory.

About as outspoken as any player in the league, LeBron James would not confirm whether he’d get the vaccine. Instead, he called it a personal matter.

If NBA players such as Paul George and King James are concerned about their health, the first step would be to actually get vaccinated. As of right now, there’s no telling which players might actually do that.

For now, those set to take part in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game Sunday evening in Atlanta seemingly don’t want the annual event to take place. That will make for an interesting “game.”

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