AP source: NBA discusses All-Star Game for HBCU benefit

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The NBA, the National Basketball Players Association and representatives from historically Black institutions met Monday to discuss how a possible All-Star Game this year could benefit HBCUs as well as COVID-19 relief efforts, said a person with direct knowledge of the conversation.

There are multiple cities being discussed as potential hosts, Atlanta among them, according to the person who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no details have been publicly announced. The current focus of the conversation is for an All-Star Game only, not the Rising Stars game or the typical All-Star Saturday events such as the skills competition, 3-point contest and dunk contest, the person said.

ESPN first reported the plans for a revised All-Star and Atlanta's emergence as a potential host.

The entire notion remains fluid, based on what happens with the virus in the coming weeks. The current discussions also do not call for an arena filled with fans, but the person told the AP there have been discussions about inviting vaccinated frontline and essential workers to the game as well as the possibility of player family members.

The NBA always planned to have All-Star voting this season, whether there was a game played or not. The league has not announced when voting will start this season, but with the midseason break set to begin March 5 it would seem logical that the balloting process would have to begin soon.

This year’s All-Star weekend was scheduled to be held in Indianapolis before the coronavirus pandemic forced changes to those plans. The league released its block of hotel rooms that were being held in Indianapolis in August, then formally moved the city’s All-Star weekend to 2024 in November.

But the league stopped short of cancelling the midseason showcase weekend it its entirety at that time, saying only that it was considering ways to revise this season’s All-Star agenda.

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Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press