It appears the NBA will rule out the Sixers’ All-Star duo from the festivities. Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were�“in contact with a barber who tested positive for COVID-19.”�
At this point, it’s too late to replace Embiid and Simmons on the day of the game. Fortunately, Embiid and Simmons weren’t in contact with the other All-Stars. It would be a nightmare situation for the NBA’s top players to all be in contact tracing and then miss multiple games along with the All-Star game.
Woj added that if players “take the opportunity to be vaccinated,” the NBA can “avoid these contract racing episodes.” Throughout the season, the league shut down multiple teams because of contract tracing.
The league also announced that Zion Williamson would take Joel Embiid’s starting spot on Team Durant.
Multiple players spoke out against having the game during the pandemic. Paul George talked about how “our health and safety should be at the front of the helm.” The All-Star game is not necessarily in line with that concern.
This situation is another reminder that even though the NBA is featuring HBCU’s during All-Star weekend and contributing to other causes, it’s still a business at the end of the day. All-Star weekend is a massive money grab for the league, and it seemed inevitable it would take place.