NBA says All-Star will benefit Black colleges, COVID relief

NBA Camps Open Basketball

FILE – In this Sept. 2, 2020, file photo, the NBA logo is displayed at center court during an NBA first-round playoff basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. On Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, the league had to postpone the Thunder-Rockets season opener due to Houston not having enough players to play due to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have completed details for the March 7 All-Star Game in Atlanta, saying it will generate more than $2.5 million for historically Black colleges and COVID-19 relief efforts.

The game has been criticized by some of the league’s top players, who voiced concerns about having it during a pandemic.

But the charitable elements were a major factor in the league pressing on.

Commissioner Adam Silver says the game gives the league a platform to shine a light on HBCUs and the ongoing need for resources in the fight against COVID-19.

“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will continue our annual tradition of celebrating the game and the greatest players in the world before a global audience,” said Silver in a press release. “In addition to the festivities on the court, the All-Star Game will honor the vital role HBCUs play in our communities and focus attention and resources on COVID-19 relief, particularly for the most vulnerable.”

In accordance with the league’s current Health and Safety Protocols, additional measures including private travel to and from Atlanta, the creation of a “mini-bubble” environment within a single hotel for players and coaches, and enhanced PCR testing, were established.

The league added that there will be no fan activities, ticketed events, or hospitality functions as part of All-Star weekend to protect the well-being and safety of the greater Atlanta community amid a pandemic.

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