Atlanta Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms is urging people not to come to the city to party for NBA All-Star weekend due to the ongoing Corornavirus pandemic.
“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 tweeted on Tuesday (Feb. 16). “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.”
The mayor also said there will be “no NBA-sanctioned events open to the public” and that the city encourages local businesses “not to host events in the city related to this game.”
On Monday (Feb. 15), the league told teams that strict protocols will be in place for the game and skills challenge. According to ESPN, “players will be allowed a very limited number of guests; all participants must travel to Atlanta by private car or plane; and for the most part, players will be allowed to leave their hotels only for All-Star events at the arena.”
Tickets for the All-Star events will not be sold. Some vaccinated frontline workers will be invited to attend the game, but everything else will remain closed to the general public.
Several players, including LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, have voiced their opinions about the game occurring during a pandemic, on top of an already hectic season. “Short offseason for myself and my teammates,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said. “It was 71 days. And then coming into this season, we were told that we were not having an All-Star Game, so we’d have a nice little break.”
He continued, “Five days from the fifth through the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season — my teammates as well, some of the guys in the league. And then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this and just breaks that all the way up. So, um, pretty much kind of a slap in the face.”
Check out Bottoms’ tweet below.