It's official, the NBA All-Star game will be played on March 7. The league announced the news on Thursday, and the game will be at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, home of the Atlanta Hawks. Coverage will begin on TNT at 5 p.m. ET, and the game will start at 8 p.m. ET. It was also announced that LeBron James and Kevin Durant would be captains for their teams.
There will be no fans in attendance, outside of a thousand from local Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and players' guests. The NBA announced they would commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs and support and awareness and equity to COVID-19 care, relief and vaccines.
Before the All-Star game begins, the Skills Challenge and the 3-Point Contest will occur at 6:30 p.m. At halftime of the All-Star Game, fans will be entertained with the Slam Dunk contest. The one challenge NBA and city of Atlanta have fans getting together for parties and watching the All-Star game. And while there has been some backlash for hosting the event, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is confident the NBA can have a successful night.
"I don't think it will be that difficult," Silver said on ESPN's The Jump when talking about holding an All-Star Weekend without fans. "Our event will not be open to the public ... there will be roughly 1,000 people representing those institutions, but there will not be tickets open to the public, and I actually agree with the mayor.
"We don't want people to gather for events around this All-Star," Silver continued. "There will be absolutely no social functions in Atlanta. No ticketed events. No parties. It is a made-for-television event at this point, and it's largely in Atlanta because that's where Turner Sports is located who will host this event ... that's why we are there, so we agree with the mayor."
James is one of the few players who has publicly said he's against playing the game. Instead, he would want to have the five days off during the All-Star break and get ready for the second half of the season. James said: "Five days [in March] from the 5th through the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season.