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Bill Russell will skip watching the All-Star game live for the first time in a long time

Here is why Bill Russell is missing this year's All-Star game in Cleveland
Bill Russell sitting courtside at the 2009 All-Star game in Phoenix

This year, a familiar face will not be on the courtside watching the All-Star game in Cleveland. Bill Russell will skip watching ASG live.

Bill Russell: ASG legend

Bill Rusell played in 12 ASGs in his 13 years in the NBA, only missing the annual event once during his rookie year. The Boston Celtics legend also won 11 titles in those 13 years. Not bad at all.

Having him courtside at the All-Star game is an assuring presence. Past stars watching the games means a lot for current players. It’s a vote of confidence for the league, teams, and players and a chance for fans to glimpse players who are no longer playing.

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The Celtics legend revealed he’s skipping the All-Star festivities in Cleveland because of Covid.

I was proud to play in 12 AllStar Games, and have been lucky to attend so many as a fan, so I don't lightly make the decision to miss one - especially the one marking our League's 75th anniversary. But I don't take anything about Covid lightly either, so I'm staying cautious-and doing my best to stay healthy-and will watch this year's game from home. My thanks to the NBA for doing a great job with its Covid protocols, and for respecting my decision this particular year. Stay safe everybody, and enjoy the game.”

For an 88-year-old Bill, it’s perfectly understandable to prioritize health. The league owes it to him to give him the privilege of watching the game wherever he is. Many former legends can take his place, and there’s no need to watch it live if he’s not going to be a presenter or doesn’t have any involvement in the activities.

Side stories in Cleveland ASG

However, it must be noted that the ASG will be part of the 75th-anniversary celebrations of the NBA. The league will honor its Top 75 players, similar to what they did in 1997 when they celebrated the Top 50 players for the NBA’s 50th anniversary.

The game itself is a must-see. Although Kevin Durant is set to miss the All-Star game, there are enough side stories between former teammates and the first-timers. How will the Cavs fans welcome back The King, and how will rising star Darius Garland perform in front of the home crowd? LeBron James has been undefeated since the change in the format of the All-Star game. Will the KD-captained team finally get their revenge? Let’s tune in to find out. 

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