The NBA All-Star Weekend is an annual mid-season break that the league takes from the grueling grind of the regular season. Going by the recent times, it is generally held during the second weekend of February. However, this time, the 2021 All-Star Weekend will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from 7th March onwards. The designated venue for on-court activities is the State Farm Area, the home of the Atlanta Hawks. Initially, the matches were to be held in Indianapolis but were moved to Atlanta to avoid the clash with the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
The concept of the All-Star Weekend began way back in 1951, when the NBA President Maurice Podoloff, NBA publicity director Haskell Cohen and the owner of the Boston Celtics, Walter A Brown came together for a meeting. It was Brown that suggested the idea of an All-Star Game, similar to that of Major League Baseball, an exhibition game between the top players in the league. While Podoloff and Cohen were hesitant, Brown, who had suggested the idea, offered to host the game, cover all expenses and pay off any losses the league might suffer.
The entire weekend along with its festivities are considered a break for the entire league. However, that can only be said about the teams and players not taking the trip to the host city. For players and team personnel that are part of the weekend extravaganza, it is an opportunity to play the part and help out with NBA Jr. camps and various NBA Cares initiatives.
The basketball part of the weekend is spread across three nights - Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On Friday, the Celebrity All-Star Game goes on in one arena while in another, it's a showdown between the top 24 players in a USA vs. the World contest from a class of rookies and sophomores. This game, which began in 1994, was earlier played between the rookies and sophomores is known as the Rising Stars Challenge. On Saturday, it's time for the Slam Dunk Contest, 3-Point Shooting Contest and the Skills Challenge. All of this concludes with the weekend finale of the All-Star Game on Sunday night.
Since 1951, there have been 68 All-Star Games out of which 66 were played in the traditional East vs West format. The Eastern Conference won 37 of them with the West winning 29. In 2018, for the first time in league history, the East-West roster system was shelved in order to bring fairness and a more competitive nature to the game.
In the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend, Team LeBron won over Team Giannis, 157-155. Kawhi Leonard was crowned the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.