Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will both miss the 71st NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, retiring just hours before the scheduled kickoff in Cleveland, Ohio.
Durant, who is injured but was expected to lead one of the two teams, will not be present due to the death of his grandmother, who died earlier on Sunday.
Mitchell withdrew hours before the whistleblowing due to illness.
Durant was also to be honored as one of the NBA‘s 75 greatest players of all time on Sunday at a ceremony marking the league’s 75th anniversary. He will miss the ceremony to be with his family.
“It is with great sadness that we share with family and friends that our dear sweet mom, BARBARA A. Davis, transitioned early this morning,” Durant’s mother, Wanda Durant, wrote on Instagram.
“Words cannot describe how our family is feeling (during) this time. We want to thank everyone for their prayers, condolences and best wishes. God is GOOD and His PEACE comforts us all.”
Mitchell, a 25-year-old American, was selected as a reserve on LeBron James’ squad to play against Durant’s squad.
Mitchell, a three-time All-Star selection and 2018 Slam Dunk Contest champion, said the illness was unrelated to Covid-19.
“It’s a great honor and it’s always been my dream to be selected as an NBA All-Star,” Mitchell said.
“With remorse, I will not be able to play tonight’s All-Star Game due to upper respiratory illness.
“I’m focused on my recovery and on the pitch.”
Mitchell averaged 25.5 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds for the Jazz, which ranks fourth in the Western Conference at 36-22 — 12 games behind the league-leading Phoenix Suns.