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Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid out of NBA All-Star Game

Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
Feb 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) and center Joel Embiid (21) look on during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Those looking to see Philadelphia 76ers stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid go up against one another Sunday evening in Atlanta are going to be disappointed.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier Sunday morning that both stars could miss the NBA All-Star Game after contact tracing showed that they came into contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

“Philadelphia 76ers teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are uncertain for Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta after having contact with a barber, who potentially has contracted the coronavirus, sources told ESPN,” the NBA insider noted. “The barber, located in the Philadelphia area, tested positive for the coronavirus after undergoing additional testing Sunday because of an inconclusive positive test, sources said.”

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid out due to COVID-19 protocols

Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons
Feb 21, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Ben Simmons (25) talk against the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In a press release early Sunday afternoon, the NBA confirmed that both Simmons and Embiid will not take part in the All-Star festivities in Atlanta.

In addition to this, both will have to be put in quarantine for seven days. This means Simmons and Embiid will miss Philadelphia’s first two post-break games against the Chicago Bulls (Thursday) and Washington Wizards (Friday).

This comes on the heels of some drama between the league’s top star and the NBA’s brass leading into Sunday’s game. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James indicated earlier that he had “zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star game this year.”

Silver responded during his annual NBA All-Star Game press conference.

Adam Silver, NBA TV
Aug 19, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attends an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

“It would be incredibly hypocritical of me to tell LeBron you should speak out on issues that are important to you, but not ones when you are critical of the league,” Silver said. “We’re all part of a community. I respect him and his point of view. But at the same time, I also appreciate his professionalism.”

At issue here is the NBA attempting to play a meaningless exhibition game with the COVID-19 pandemic still very much a thing across the United States.

Sure the number of vaccinated people continues to increase. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are also dropping. With that said, it was just a few months ago that the NBA conducted its restart in the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World.

As for James and his Lakers, they are coming off the shortest offseason in modern Association history. Being given a few days off rather than having to perform for the powers that be was a more ideal scenario.

As for the Philadelphia 76ers, this could impact them once the break comes to a conclusion. Under first-year head coach Doc Rivers, Philadelphia finished the “first half” of the season with a 24-12 record and the best record in the Eastern Conference.

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