The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are getting closer to an agreement on 2021 All-Star format that would include an East vs. West game and potentially a dunk contest and 3-point shootout on March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, two people familiar with the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until an agreement is reached.
Both sides are interesting in holding a single-day event – All-Star Weekend is one of the NBA’s most watched and popular events – and they would need to act fast in order to make all the necessary arrangements in the next four-plus weeks.
The NBA is closer to an agreement with the players union to move ahead with an All-Star Game in Atlanta, after the league cancelled All Star Weekend in Indianapolis amid COVID-19 concerns. (Photo: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)
Normally, All-Star festivities are spread over a full weekend, starting Friday with the Celebrity All-Star and Rising Stars games, continuing Saturday with the dunk contest and 3-point shootout and culminating with the game on Sunday. But the NBA postponed its originally scheduled All-Star Weekend set for Feb. 12-14 in Indianapolis because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA awarded Indianapolis the 2024 All-Star Weekend following Cleveland in 2022 and Salt Lake City in 2023.
All-Star voting began last week.
The NBA and NBPA maintained a dialogue around the idea of holding a version of the All-Star Game while the league took a break from regular-season games March 5-10.
Both sides have also discussed a plan to provide funding for historically black colleges and universities and COVID-19 relief.
Logistical details, including health and safety protocols and travel to and from the game for players, family and support staff, are still being resolved.
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