On Thursday, the league announced the reserves for the All-Star Game in Chicago in two weeks, and while there were plenty of familiar faces, as usual there were some notable omissions of generally well-deserving players who, for various reasons, didn’t quite make the cut.
We also got some clarity on the rosters for the Rising Stars Challenge, which kicks off the annual festivities on Friday, February 14 in an exhibition match-up that pits international-born players against American-born players, pulling from a pool of rookies and sophomores who have distinguished themselves so far in their early careers.
As with the All-Star Game itself, there were naturally some conspicuously absent names from those rosters, one of whom took the perceived snub particularly hard. Pelicans rookie Jaxson Hayes, upon hearing the news, posted a NSFW video on social media in which he decried the “political” nature of the decision-making process, along with plenty of colorful language, and welcomed the league to fine him for his remarks, which they no doubt will.
Jaxson Hayes is not happy he got left off the rising stars roster
“NBA can really suck my d**k for all I care.”
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 1, 2020
But as is often the case with reactions like this that come in the heat of the moment, Hayes later followed that up with a lengthy apology post.
Two of Hayes’ teammates were selected to play in the exhibition, including Zion Williamson, who has appeared in just five games so far this season after recovering from a knee injury, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a Canadian-born player who is averaging just 5.4 points and two rebounds per game, as compared to Hayes’ 8.4 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Yet, even if Hayes has something resembling a legitimate gripe, lashing out was certainly not the way to handle it. There’s been no official reaction from the league offices yet, but some sort of fine and reprimand will surely be forthcoming.