Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘Don’t care about the All-Star Game’
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Antetokounmpo’s remarks came a day after James criticized the league’s All-Star Game plans. Other stars spoke out against the game Friday, including the Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden and the LA Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard.
Antetokounmpo was second behind Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant in the Eastern Conference’s frontcourt in the first fan returns of NBA All-Star voting.
The reigning back-to-back MVP and Defensive Player of the Year has played in the past four All-Star Games, citing his 2020 experience in Chicago as being “very fun for the fans.”
“At the end of the day, if we have the All-Star Game, I hope fans can be there and we can give back to them,” Antetokounmpo said. “At the end of the day, if we have the All-Star Game just to have the All-Star Game and have no fans, I don’t see the point of having the All-Star Game.”
Antetokounmpo, like James, said he was under the impression that the league wouldn’t hold the yearly showcase until reports indicating otherwise began to surface. He said he would much rather use the time to decompress from basketball rather than competing on that night.
“I thought about it, obviously. Coming into the season, what we knew was there’s not going to be an All-Star Game, it was going to be a time to spend time with our family,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, when the protocol changes it’s kind of hard because on the road, your family cannot come on the road. Back home you cannot leave the house, you only can go to the practice facility or to the arena, and you don’t have time to take your family to a nice dinner or your family coming on the road or like just escaping the game.”
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, who is president of the players’ union, responded Friday to negative comments made by players about the All-Star Game.
“Guys are entitled to their feelings, decisions and everything,” Paul said. “I think the job for the union is to try to make sure our players are healthy and safe. This is something that was a decision by the league, and we are definitely, day in and day out, trying to figure it out. But we have 450 players that we are always trying to get insight from, and it’s tough, so we are trying to figure it out right now.”
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