The 2021 NBA All-Star Game is happening in Atlanta despite vocal opposition from top players like LeBron James and critics labeling the event as unnecessary and dangerous amid a global pandemic. The NBA’s mid-season celebration of its best and brightest has been moved from Indianapolis to Atlanta, and the schedule has been condensed to fit the game and the typical All-Star Saturday contests (like the dunk contest, three-point shootout, and skills challenge) all into one night.
The All-Star festivities will get underway on Sunday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT. The skills challenge and three-point contest will open up coverage of the event. The All-Star Game will tip-off at 8 p.m. between Team LeBron and Team Durant. The dunk contest will begin during halftime of the All-Star Game.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant picked their teams as captains after being the highest vote-getters in each conference. Durant will miss the game with a hamstring injury and has been replaced by Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum in the starting lineup. Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley has also been added to the game as an injury replacement for Devin Booker, who was originally added as an injury replacement for Anthony Davis.
The league is pledging an estimated $3 million in donations to historically Black colleges or universities through the event. Team LeBron will be representing the Thurgood Marshall College Fund while Team Durant reps the United Negro College Fund. Each is guaranteed $500,000 regardless of what happens during the game. The rest of the money will be given to the team that wins each quarter. The game will again be decided by a target score rather than a running clock at the end of the fourth quarter.