Clippers star Kawhi Leonard isn’t “stressing” over the NBA’s plan to hold an All-Star game amid the continuing pandemic on March 7 in Atlanta, but he also noted that the motivation to hold it came as no surprise, either.
“It is what it is at this point, we all know why we’re playing it, it’s money on the line, it’s an opportunity to make more money,” Leonard said after the Clippers’ 119-115 loss to Boston at Staples Center. “Just putting money over health right now, pretty much.
“But we’re playing games now and it’s still a pandemic, we’re doing all these protocols and rules so it doesn’t really surprise me.”
Leonard has played in four of the NBA’s last five All-Star games, earning most valuable player honors last season, and is in line to appear in another this season. He has received the third-most votes among Western Conference frontcourt players this season, according to the league.
His comment came one day after Lakers star LeBron James called the idea a “slap in the face.” His reluctance has since been echoed by others.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo — who, like James, has been named an All-Star captain each of the past two seasons — said he, too, would have “zero energy and zero excitement” to take part.
“Right now I don’t care about the All-Star game,” Antetokounmpo said. “We cannot see our families. I can’t worry about the All-Star game. I want to see my family, you know?
“… At the end of the day, if they tell us we gotta show up, we gotta do our job. I’m always doing my job. I’m always showing up, doing the right example. But at the end of the day inside, deep down, I don’t want to do it. I want to get some break.”