NBA said nobody tested positive for COVID-19 at All-Star Game even after Simmons, Embiid scare

Ryan Young
·3 min read

From a COVID-19 standpoint, the league says, the All-Star Game went off without a hitch.

The NBA announced Monday that no players, coaches or game officials tested positive for the coronavirus while in Atlanta for the single-day event at State Farm Arena. All players and coaches at the event left Atlanta on Sunday night after the game.

“All players, coaches, and game officials were tested for COVID three times after arriving in Atlanta, including a final test immediately prior to last night’s All-Star Game,” the league said in a statement, via The Associated Press. “Each of those tests returned a negative result, confirming no one on the court for last night’s events was infected.”

Embiid, Simmons had COVID scare

Though nobody actually returned a positive test, both Philadelphia 76ers stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, were forced to pull out from the game at the last minute due to potential exposure to the coronavirus.

The NBA announced on Sunday morning that Simmons and Embiid could not play after they reportedly received haircuts from a barber who had tested positive. The two traveled to Atlanta on private planes, and did not come into contact with anyone there before the news was announced. The two were not replaced in the game, as the incident occurred just hours before the game was set to tip.

It’s unclear when Embiid and Simmons will be able to return, or if they’ll be able to play when Philadelphia plays its first game back from the break on Thursday.

“So far, so good as far as their testing,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said, via The Associated Press. “They feel great. They both obviously wanted to play. We’re disappointed.

“Both of them, their biggest concern would be if they could play the first two games when we get back. So we don’t know the answer to that yet. That’s going to be really important for us. It would be tough to start the second half of the year and not have either one.”

LeBron James again questioned ASG

While the potential exposure from Embiid and Simmons was caught early — something that could have caused a widespread outbreak throughout the league — that scenario is the exact thing that many in the NBA feared when the game was announced in the first place.

LeBron James was one of several players who slammed commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to hold the game during the pandemic, and again questioned that decision before the game on Sunday.

“Obviously, I love our league. I love the game of basketball at the highest level and doing what I love to do,” he said. "I just think under these circumstances with what we’re going through still with the pandemic and everything with the season, I just thought we could’ve looked at it a little bit differently.

“But that’s out of my hands. I can only control what I can control.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the 2021 All-Star Game
NBA commissioner Adam Silver looks on during the second half of the All-Star Game at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 7, 2021. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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