The NBA finds itself in quite the conundrum after announcing the city of Atlanta would host the 2021 All-Star Game.
While city officials and NBA execs urged against any league hosted events, party promoters and venues are gearing up for several “lituations,” in an effort to take part of the economic boom, regardless of what it may cost in terms of public health.
The All-Star game is a microcosm for the ways in which capitalism intersects with public health, and while Black and brown business owners have faced tremendous economic struggles, there’s still time to pause over a pandemic which has disproportionately affected their communities and families. And state leaders have also contributed with a rush towards the economic boom, when clearly for many, dollars are the bottom line.
Earlier this week Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, attempted to get ahead of the fray, but the move was undoubtedly unsuccessful.
“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. “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.”
“There will absolutely be no social functions in Atlanta, no ticketed events, no parties,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver on “The Jump” with Rachel Nichols, echoing the mayor’s statement.
Naming Atlanta as the host city this year raised eyebrows primarily because of the majority-Black population, who are more susceptible to the ills of the pandemic. While COVID-19 cases are trending downwards across the country, numbers are still at elevated rates and are higher than the initial outbreak, which began in February-March 2020.
Fulton County, which is one of the largest counties of the state is one of the top five counties with the highest instances of COVID-19 cases, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
In early February NBA players expressed less than stellar reactions on participating in the extracurricular activity during a pandemic.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” LeBron James said. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game. But it’s the agreement that the players association and the league came about.”
James pointed out that ahead of the season players were told that an All-Star wouldn’t take place. After the league’s most famous player spoke out, several other NBA players expressed similar feelings.
Needless to say the show will go on and the game will be held on one night, March 7, 2021.