NBA may have one-day All-Star Game in Atlanta in March

Sport

All-Star Weekend — originally scheduled for February in Indianapolis — has officially been canceled. The city will get its turn in 2024.

That doesn’t mean the All-Star Game itself is off.

The NBA and players union — and, you can be sure, Turner Broadcasting, which has the rights to the game — are in talks about hosting an All-Star Game only, likely in Atlanta, in March, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

NBPA president Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns has been a proponent of the idea, which would allow for a game to financially benefit historically Black colleges and universities and COVID-19 relief. Turner Sports, which has the television rights to the game, is headquartered in Atlanta.

There have been discussions about using the Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena or an Atlanta-based HBCU campus gymnasium, sources said.

There had always been plans to select an All-Star team — complete with fan votes and the usual process — for this season. Whether the game itself would be played was the part always up in the air.

The NBA is scheduled to be off from March 5-10 as a mid-season break for players going through a condensed schedule. However, there is a lot of buzz around the league that due to all the games postponed so far due to COVID-19 protocols that break may be limited or erased for some teams to get near 72 games per team.

This would be the All-Star Game only — no Slam Dunk contest or celebrity game or any of the rest of it. Whether there would be fans in the stands (and if so, how many) is among the myriad of details still be worked out about this plan.

But with COVID-19 rates falling (knocks on wood it continues), the sides are talking and there is a good chance we will see an All-Star Game.