The NBA All-Star 2021, the 70th annual celebration of the game, set to take place on Sunday, March 7 at State Farm Arena, Atlanta (the home of Atlanta Hawks), will be compressed into a single-night event due to COVID-19. The on-field action will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 3-point challenge and the skills contest, while the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will start at 8 p.m. ET. The slam dunk challenge will act as a halftime show.
First played on March 2, 1951, at the Boston Garden, the All-Star Game is a showcase for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) best and brightest. It’s an annual featured event of NBA All-Star Weekend, a three-day competition, which runs from Friday through Sunday.
What Is the Competitive Format?
Following the same format as the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will involve two teams competing against one other to win each quarter for their respective beneficiaries. The fourth quarter will not be timed, and the All-Star teams will compete for the Final Target Score. This means that the competition will end with a made free throw or a made basket rather than with the clock running out.
How Does the Competitive Format Work?
The first three quarters will start with 0-0 as the scoreline, with the score resetting after each. Every quarter will run for 12 minutes, and the winner of the first, second, and third-round will be the All-Star team that scores the most points.
In the fourth quarter, they will turn off the game clock and set a Final Target Score. The two All-Star teams will then play the untimed round, and the side that reaches, or surpasses, the Final Target Score first will be declared the 2021 NBA All-Star Game winner.
How Is the Final Target Score Determined?
To determine the Final Target Score, they will take the total cumulative score of the leading team in the first, second and third quarters and add 24 points.
Why Use 24 Points to Help Determine the Final Target Score?
During the NBA All-Star 2020, the Final Target Score incorporated 24 points, an ongoing tribute to the late Kobe Bryant who played the final 10 seasons of his career wearing jersey No. 24. And the 70th annual celebration of the game, the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, will not be any different as the league will use the same method to determine the final score.
How Will the All-Star Teams Be Selected?
Both the Western and Eastern Conference starters were chosen by using a voting combination from media (25%), players (25%), and fans (50%), while the reserves were selected by coaches. The starters and reserves were revealed on Thursday, February 18 and Monday, February 22, respectively. The 2021 NBA All-Star Draft is scheduled for Thursday, March 4 at 8 p.m ET on TNT.
Having already announced the season’s All-Stars, all that awaits is the division of players amongst the two teams in a live draft. The two captains, Lakers’ forward LeBron James (with the 1st pick) representing the Western Conference and Brooklyn’s forward Kevin Durant (KD) appearing for the Eastern Conference, will pick their choices from a pool of players selected as starters and reserves without regard to conference affiliation. The first four picks by Durant and James will come from among the West’s and East’s elected starters. However, Durant will not play due to a left hamstring injury.
Will they select former teammates in Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving? Will Giannis Antetokounmpo be the first star to be picked? Who wants Zion Williamson? With the draft fast approaching, we only have to wait to see how things will shake out.
What Community Partners Will Be Involved?
The National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and the NBA All-Star 2021 partners, such as MTN DEW®, AT & Taco and Bell®, in collaboration with TMCF, UNCF, NAFEO and Direct Relief Fund for Health Equity, will discuss the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and disseminate the Covid-19 disparate impact on people of color.
In a recent interview, NBA alongside NBPA announced that they will offer a more than $2.5-million commitment in funds and resources during the NBA All-Star 2021 in supporting the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and communities affected by the ongoing pandemic.
What’s more, there will be special performances by musical groups and unique storytelling and content by distinguished HBCU students and alumni.
What Are the Health and Safety Protocols?
To supplement the current Health and Safety Protocols of the league, the NBPA and NBA have put in place extra measures such as an enhanced PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, organized for private movement to and from Atlanta, and created an environmental bubble within one hotel for coaches and players. Furthermore, they have abolished ticketed events, fun activities, or hospitality functions during the NBA All-Star 2021 for the safety and well-being of the Atlanta community.