LeBron James has been far from the only NBA player to criticize the NBA for holding All-Star Weekend amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the face of the league, his words spoke the loudest.
In February, James said he had “zero energy and zero excitement” for the All-Star game, and called the decision to hold it in the middle of a pandemic a “slap in the face.” In a press conference this weekend, NBA commissioner Adam Silver responded to his criticisms.
“It would be incredibly hypocritical of me to tell LeBron you should speak out on issues that are important to you, but not ones when you are critical of the league,” Silver said, per USA Today. “We’re all part of a community. I respect him and his point of view. But at the same time, I also appreciate his professionalism.”
“My sense is he’s going to be here as he always is as a top-notch professional and engaged in the game. So I respect his point of view, but it can be issues that can be worked out within the family, so to speak.”
Silver also defended the league’s decision to put on the weekend, stating that “economic factors” were not part of the decision, rather the “larger brand value of the NBA.”
While James was critical of the festivities, he appeared to enjoy himself, and his team romped to a 170-150 victory over Kevin Durant’s team in the All-Star Game.