Two stars of the Philadelphia 76ers set to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game have been benched after they came into contact with an individual who later tested positive for COVID-19.
The NBA said Sunday that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who were set to face each other on opposing teams captained by Kevin Durant and LeBron James, would sit out for the game after contact tracing identified them as having been in the proximity of an unnamed individual who tested positive on Sunday prior to traveling to Atlanta for the game.
The NBA announced Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will not play in tonight’s All-Star Game. pic.twitter.com/DhU6ftCCnJ
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 7, 2021
No other information about how the two players came in to contact with the infected person was released by the NBA, but The Associated Press reported that the two received haircuts several days ago from a barber who later tested positive. Neither Embiid or Simmons have tested positive.
The news drew criticism from other players set to participate Sunday.
“It’s just an unfortunate time in the world where our health and safety should be at the front of the helm,” Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers told the AP in a statement. “I personally didn’t agree with the game but, you know, it is what it is.”
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