N.B.A All Star Game and the Battle With Covid-19

N.B.A All Star Game and the Battle With Covid-19

Jayden Bradley, Writer

The N.B.A. All-Star Game was rocked just hours before tipoff on Sunday when the league announced it would sideline Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers after they had contact with an individual who was confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Numerous top players in recent weeks had questioned playing the exhibition at all during a pandemic, and some eight hours before the game’s scheduled 8 p.m. start, Embiid and Simmons were ruled out — with the league also saying their removals would have no impact on other All-Stars or 76ers Coach Doc Rivers and his staff.

Their participation would not be affected, the league said, because those people “were not exposed to the individual in Philadelphia” before traveling to Atlanta. The Sixers’ staff earned the right to coach the team captained by the Nets’ Kevin Durant because Philadelphia held the East’s best record at the All-Star break.

The news broke as numerous players were conducting video conference interview sessions from their hotel rooms. Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Nets’ James Harden were among those who responded by again questioning the wisdom of staging an All-Star Game amid a pandemic, as LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and other stars had last month.