Recapping NBA All-Star Weekend 2021

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Superstars Stephen Curry and LeBron James teamed up for the first time this All-Star Weekend, and did not disappoint.

Tristan Baldeo, Staff Writer

The 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend came to both a quick start and finish due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The three-day weekend most known for being filled with extravagant events was quickly flipped into a single day’s worth, with fans that tuned in giving mixed opinions throughout.

Many issues sprung along the way leading to the very day of the event, with the decision to host All-Star weekend by commissioner Adam Silver in the first place causing criticism. Various NBA players, such as LeBron James, spoke out against the idea of having an All-Star Game during a pandemic, and rightfully so.

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said to ESPN. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”

Injuries and COVID-19 would then continue to play into the mix as the days counted down toward the event, with All-Star captain Kevin Durant being out due to a left hamstring injury. 

The injury list would continue to pile up as stars Anthony Davis and Devin Booker, both fan favorites, would go on to miss the game as well. Replacements would be found in the form of forward Domantas Sabonis and guard Mike Conley, a less exciting bunch in the eyes of many to say the least.

It would not be till the day of the event itself that COVID-19 would strike, affecting MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Ben Simmons, both members of the Philadelphia 76ers due to contact tracing. This would be a major loss to the All-Star Game, with no replacements being involved.

Smooth sailing would occur moving forward, as the NBA Skills Challenge would occur and finish in a quick fashion with forward Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers taking the crown. 

The Three-Point Contest would provide much more entertainment, however, as superstar Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors would walk away victorious on a winning final shot against guard Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz.

While these were good events to warm up the audience, the main event would start soon after. The NBA All-Star Game and the NBA Dunk Contest at halftime would take up the rest of the night.

The first half of the NBA All-Star Game was an intense back and forth between Team LeBron and Team Durant, however, the NBA Dunk Contest proved to be lackluster to many.

What is usually a longer event highlighted by known talent, the dunk contest featured a lot lesser known names to the casual NBA fan this time around. Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers would become the champion of the night, despite overall disappointing dunks compared to previous years.

This lackluster performance would carry on to the second half of the NBA All-Star Game, as Team Durant would ultimately be demolished the rest of the night, losing to Team LeBron 170-150. Reigning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokoumpo would receive the 2021 NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award with an incredible performance of 35 points on 16-of-16 perfect shooting from the field.

All-Star Weekend 2020, honoring the late Kobe Bryant, is considered one of the best All-Star Weekends the NBA has seen in a while with a stellar All-Star Game that came down to the wire. This will be constantly used as a comparison for a lot of NBA All-Star Weekends moving forward and this year was first up. All-Star Weekend 2021 would be considered lackluster due to this comparison, as NBA fans saw downgrades in every category essentially.

At the end of the day, NBA All-Star Weekend still proved to be entertaining despite some flaws and we can only hope for a successor to this year’s event moving forward. NBA All-Star Weekend in 2022 is to take place in Cleveland and hopefully will include the energy before COVID-19 that is missed by all.

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