76ers All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons Out of NBA All-Star Game Due to COVID Contact Tracing
The athletes, both with the Philadelphia 76ers, were exposed before traveling to Atlanta for the annual event, the NBA said in a statement on Sunday. Embiid was set to play with LeBron James' team while Simmons was with Kevin Durant's.
"Prior to traveling to Atlanta, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons had contact with an individual who is confirmed today to have tested positive for the coronavirus," the statement said. "As a result, Embiid (Team Durant) and Simmons (Team LeBron) will not play in tonight's NBA All-Star Game."
"Participation for other All-Stars and members of the 76ers coaching staff in Atlanta is not affected because they were not exposed to the individual in Philadelphia," the statement added.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will replace Embiid.
Both Embiid, 26, and Simmons, 24, traveled to Atlanta via private planes and have been quarantined since their arrival, ESPN reported.
The 2021 All-Star Game is set to air on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. from Atlanta.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, the NBA condensed what is normally All-Star weekend to a single day. The Rising Stars game was canceled, the Slam Dunk competition was moved to halftime at Sunday's game and the 3-point contest and skills competition will take place before the game.
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Without Embiid, Durant's team includes starters Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal, with James Harden, Zion Williamson, Julius Randle, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley in the reserves.
Lebron's team features Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic as starters and Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Domantas Sabonis and Rudy Gobert on the bench.
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game between Team LeBron and Team Durant airs Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
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