NBA

LeBron James brands All-Star plans 'a slap in the face'

After a stunning performance against the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James made it clear he is not happy to see the All-Star game going ahead.

LeBron James brands All-Star plans 'a slap in the face' to NBA players

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James branded the decision to hold an NBA All-Star game this season as "pretty much a slap in the face".

The league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have agreed to stage the event in Atlanta on March 7, according to The Athletic.

The traditional February exhibition, initially set to be held in Indianapolis, was cancelled before the season started due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta HawksATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 01: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after hitting a three-point basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at State Farm Arena on February 01, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

James had expected the game not to go ahead and was anticipating a much-needed break after the Lakers go to the Sacramento Kings on March 4.

Speaking after leading the Lakers to a 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, James proclaimed he has "Zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star game this year", adding: "I don't even know why we're having an All-Star game."

He said: "A short offseason for myself and my team-mates, and coming into the season, we were told we wouldn't have an All-Star game so we get a nice little break, five days from the fifth to the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season.

"Then they throw an All-Star game on us like this. It's pretty much a slap in the face. We're still dealing with a pandemic, with everything that's been going on, and we're going to bring the whole league into one city that's open.

"You guys can see I'm not very happy about it but it's out of my hands. I'll be there physically [if I'm selected], but not mentally."

James was speaking after posting a second triple-double of the season  – 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists – against the Nuggets as the Lakers moved to 17-6.

The 36-year-old is enjoying a 23-game streak of recording at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists to start the season. It is the longest such run in NBA history, surpassing his own record of 22 set back in 2011-12.

James scored the 12,682nd field goal of his storied career, overtaking the great Wilt Chamberlain for the third-most in NBA history, with only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15,837) and Karl Malone (13,528) now above him.

"The association with a legend like Wilt Chamberlain, that does something for me," James said. "I'm someone who grew up reading about the game, studying the game. Wilt obviously was a big staple of that. It's very humbling."