Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is urging people to stay away from the city for the NBA All-Star game, which the city will host.
“People should not travel to Atlanta to party,” Lance Bottoms said in a statement, according to ESPN. “Under normal circumstances, we would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game, but this is not a typical year. I have shared my concerns related to public health and safety with the NBA and Atlanta Hawks. We are in agreement that this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta to party.”
Lance Bottoms added there will be “no NBA-sanctioned events open to the public” and the city urges local businesses “not to host events in the city related to this game.”
Since the announcement, multiple players, including LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard have expressed frustration at holding the game, especially since the season began less than three months after the playoff bubble ended. However, like the start of this season, the league, owners, and players would potentially lose billions in TV revenue and advertising by canceling the game.
The NBA gave teams strict protocols that will be in place for the game. All players and their guests must travel to Atlanta by private car or private plane. Players have a limited number of guests that can travel with them and players will be allowed to leave the hotel for NBA sanctioned events only.
Tickets will not be sold for the game and there will be no events for fans outside of the game. Some vaccinated front-line workers will be invited to the game. Former NBA player and current analyst for ESPN Paul Pierce said on The Jump he doesn’t believe people will listen to Mayor Lance Bottoms.