Sacramento Kings star De’Aaron Fox, like many others in the league, isn’t happy about the NBA’s reported plans for an All-Star Game next month amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet if Fox is selected for the game this season, he told The Athletic’s Shams Charania he would make the trip.
He just wouldn’t be that happy about it.
“If I was named one, I’d go,” Fox said. “But that doesn’t make the concept any less appealing than it was.”
All-Star Game moving forward despite criticism, COVID-19
The NBA is reportedly planning to hold the All-Star Game, dunk contest, 3-point contest and skills challenge in a single day on March 7 in Atlanta — something the league and the players association agreed to last month.
The league has a number of safety precautions in place, though many aren’t happy about it. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a warning urging fans not to travel to her city for the event or celebrate in Atlanta due to the pandemic on Tuesday, and some of the NBA’s biggest stars — like Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and more — have slammed the idea.
LeBron James even called it a “slap in the face.”
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
Fox, like James and others, didn’t take the news well initially either.
"If I'm gonna be brutally honest, I think it's stupid,” he said earlier this month, via ABC10's Sean Cunningham. “If we have to wear masks and do all this for a regular game, then what's the point of bringing the All-Star Game back? But obviously money makes the world go round, so it is what it is.”
Fox has averaged a career-high 23.2 points and 6.8 assists per game this season, his fourth in the league. The 23-year-old has yet to earn an All-Star nod, though is now undoubtedly in his best position to do so.
He attempted to walk back his initial comments about the All-Star Game back a bit with Charania. Fox did, though, raise a very good point about how devastating an outbreak at the event could end up being for the rest of the league — especially once those players return home.
"I definitely could've used a different word, or explained it differently with the COVID situation and all that," Fox said. "But obviously guys are grateful if they're named All-Stars. You bring in a bunch of players together, and then somebody could end up testing positive and the contact tracing goes now instead of two different teams it's 12, 16 different teams, so that's where I stood on it.”
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