LeBron James Rips NBA's Proposed All-Star Game Plans, 'Slap In The Face'
LeBron James Rips NBA's Proposed All-Star Game Plans ... 'Slap In The Face'
2/5/2021 6:08 AM PT
1:44 PM PT -- 2/5 -- Kenny Smith tells TMZ Sports he understand why guys like LeBron and Fox are so upset about the planned game ... but he's urging players to give things a chance before completely shutting it all out.
"A lot could happen in a month," the "NBA on TNT" star says. "I remember when guys were saying they didn't want to go to the bubble. And, they went to the bubble. They were like, I'll be there, but I don't really want to be there."
"And, then all a sudden, the bubble was a huge success."
Smith seemed confident the NBA's health and safety protocols would keep players away from the virus ... adding, "They figured it out in the bubble, they'll figure it out [at the All-Star Game]."
6:02 AM PT -- If ya thought Fox was pissed over the NBA's last-minute plans for a pandemic All-Star Game -- wait 'til you hear LeBron James' take on the matter ...
The L.A. Lakers superstar went absolutely IN on the league for its ASG plans ... saying straight-up the proposed game feels like a "slap in the face" to him.
"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. But, it's the agreement the Players Association and the league came about."
LeBron says he and his Lakers were led to believe that after such a short offseason, they would get nearly a full week off for the All-Star break.
"They throw an All-Star Game on us like this and it just breaks that all the way up," LeBron said. "Pretty much kind of a slap in the face."
LeBron continued, saying the added risk of players catching COVID makes the proposed game even more nonsensical.
"We're going to bring the whole league into one city that's open," LeBron said, before adding, "Obviously you guys can see I'm not very happy about it."
"But, it's out of my hands. I'll be there if I'm selected. I'll be there physically, but not mentally."
Want to see LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Nikola Jokic take on Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid next month??
Apparently, De'Aaron Fox doesn't ... 'cause the Sacramento Kings star ripped the NBA on Wednesday for reportedly trying to put together an All-Star Game this season in the middle of a pandemic.
"If I'm going to be brutally honest," Fox said, "I think it's stupid."
"If we have to wear a mask and do all of this for a regular game, then what's the point of bringing the All-Star Game back?"
The NBA, according to ESPN, is trying to lock in an agreement with the Players Association to hold the annual classic on March 7 in Atlanta.
If safe, it seems like a great idea -- the NBA routinely has the most entertaining All-Star Game of any of the four major sports.
But, Fox -- who has a shot at being selected this year -- clearly would rather not see it ... given all the risks of COVID involved.
De'Aaron Fox really had Zion and Lonzo lost 🤭— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 2, 2021 @ESPNNBA
"Obviously, money makes the world go round," Fox said. "So, it is what it is."
Fox, though, did say he'd play in the All-Star Game if selected ... but with a smile, he noted, "If you're supposed to be in it, and you're not hurt and you decide not to play, that's a hefty fine."
"So, hell yeah I would play in it."
Originally Published -- 2/4 3:34 PM PT