Philadelphia 76ers teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons missed the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, with the league announcing the decision earlier Sunday. The two had contact with a barber who has since tested positive for the coronavirus, sources told ESPN.
The barber, located in the Philadelphia area, tested positive after undergoing additional testing on Sunday because of an inconclusive positive test, sources said.
Embiid was on Team Durant, while Simmons was on Team LeBron. Though sources told ESPN prior to the game there were no plans to replace Embiid and Simmons on the rosters, New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson did take Embiid’s place in the starting lineup for Team Durant.
Williamson had 10 points in 14 minutes on 5-of-9 shooting in Team Durant’s 170-150 loss.
Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers, who coached Team Durant, said in his postgame news conference that Embiid and Simmons continue to test negative. Rivers is hopeful both will play at the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, Philadelphia’s first game of the season’s second half.
Both Embiid and Simmons traveled to Atlanta on Saturday night in private planes and remained in quarantine, which was the protocol for every All-Star participant. The NBA feared an outbreak involving the league’s best players in Atlanta and had significant precautions in place to isolate the players on the way in to and out of the city.
Shortly before tipoff, Embiid tweeted about the decision.
Looking at those fresh shape-ups and I had to be the one pic.twitter.com/BESWmi01XV
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) March 8, 2021
Paul George, who was to be a teammate of Simmons’ on Team LeBron, said he wasn’t in favor of holding the All-Star Game.
“You have situations like we are dealing with today; it’s just an unfortunate time in the world where our health and safety should be at the front of the helm,” the LA Clippers star said during his All-Star media access on Sunday. “I personally didn’t agree with the game, but it is what it is.”