Barber’s positive test the cruelest of cuts for Sixers Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons wanted to look good for the NBA all-star game. Their decisions cast an even deeper pall over the controversial event.In a chain of events that underscores the insidious nature of the coronavirus, Embiid and Simmons getting haircuts in Philadelphia reverberated to the league’s all-star day in Atlanta and once again caused a ruckus about whether Sunday’s game should even have been held.The two 76ers stars got haircuts at the same Philadelphia-area barber. That barber returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test, then was confirmed Sunday to have tested positive for the virus. That put Embiid and Simmons in the league’s contact tracing program and cost them a chance to play in Sunday’s game, putting a further damper on the toned-down festivities that were criticized from the moment it was decided to have a game.“Obviously, I love our league and I love playing the game of basketball at the highest level and doing what I love to do,” all-star captain LeBron James said Sunday, “but I just think under these circumstances of what we’re going through, still with the pandemic and everything with the season, I just thought we could have looked at it a little bit differently — but it’s out of my hands.“I only can control what I can control and I’m here representing Team LeBron, but obviously something like that happening is something we all thought could possibly happen.”“I don’t want to say we didn’t have a choice,” Washington guard Bradley Beal said, “but it’s in our (collective bargaining agreement) and our CBA says there has to be an all-star game every year. There’s a lot of language in there that can kind of get ugly if we didn’t necessarily come down and go through with the all-star game.“There’s still guys reserved about it, I’m sure. I’m still reserved about it.”The league and the players association agreed months ago on an extensive series of health and safety protocols for every player and coach who took part in Sunday’s game.Players and a select group of close family and friends, all of whom had to return negative test results, were flown by league-arranged private jets to Atlanta on Saturday.There was no interaction between players, their friends and families and the general public while in Atlanta.Everyone involved in the game and secondary events had to go through the same twice-daily testing protocols in place for regular-season games.Private charters were used to get the players and their groups out of Atlanta after the game.It muted what is usually a celebration of the game.“This is when everyone in basketball, the world, comes to one city and … we all really sit back and go, like, wow, this is what this game has built, this is a beautiful weekend for all walks, on the floor and off the floor,” James said.“To be sitting here, sitting in my room, isolated, with no one — my family’s not here, I’m by myself — it’s just different, to say the least.”Even so, the league and the players association felt it necessary to go ahead with the pared-down event.“It would have been a bigger deal not to have (the all-star game),” commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday. “I mean, especially since we know how to operate a bubble, and we have we’ll call it our mini bubble here in Atlanta. From the moment the players land to when they leave, they’re only going to be operating between the hotel and the arena.“Once we got to the point where we felt we could do it safely, we felt we definitely should go forward. We should do it for our fans and for our business.”The protocols meant Simmons and Embiid had no contact with any other all-star game participant in Atlanta and that allowed the night’s events to go on.It’s unclear how long Embiid and Simmons will have to be quarantined. The Eastern Conference-leading Sixers are scheduled to start the second half of the regular season Thursday in Chicago.

Barber’s positive test the cruelest of cuts for Sixers Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons wanted to look good for the NBA all-star game. Their decisions cast an even deeper pall over the controversial event.

In a chain of events that underscores the insidious nature of the coronavirus, Embiid and Simmons getting haircuts in Philadelphia reverberated to the league’s all-star day in Atlanta and once again caused a ruckus about whether Sunday’s game should even have been held.

The two 76ers stars got haircuts at the same Philadelphia-area barber. That barber returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test, then was confirmed Sunday to have tested positive for the virus.

That put Embiid and Simmons in the league’s contact tracing program and cost them a chance to play in Sunday’s game, putting a further damper on the toned-down festivities that were criticized from the moment it was decided to have a game.

“Obviously, I love our league and I love playing the game of basketball at the highest level and doing what I love to do,” all-star captain LeBron James said Sunday, “but I just think under these circumstances of what we’re going through, still with the pandemic and everything with the season, I just thought we could have looked at it a little bit differently — but it’s out of my hands.

“I only can control what I can control and I’m here representing Team LeBron, but obviously something like that happening is something we all thought could possibly happen.”

“I don’t want to say we didn’t have a choice,” Washington guard Bradley Beal said, “but it’s in our (collective bargaining agreement) and our CBA says there has to be an all-star game every year. There’s a lot of language in there that can kind of get ugly if we didn’t necessarily come down and go through with the all-star game.

“There’s still guys reserved about it, I’m sure. I’m still reserved about it.”

The league and the players association agreed months ago on an extensive series of health and safety protocols for every player and coach who took part in Sunday’s game.

  • Players and a select group of close family and friends, all of whom had to return negative test results, were flown by league-arranged private jets to Atlanta on Saturday.

  • There was no interaction between players, their friends and families and the general public while in Atlanta.

  • Everyone involved in the game and secondary events had to go through the same twice-daily testing protocols in place for regular-season games.

  • Private charters were used to get the players and their groups out of Atlanta after the game.

It muted what is usually a celebration of the game.

“This is when everyone in basketball, the world, comes to one city and … we all really sit back and go, like, wow, this is what this game has built, this is a beautiful weekend for all walks, on the floor and off the floor,” James said.

“To be sitting here, sitting in my room, isolated, with no one — my family’s not here, I’m by myself — it’s just different, to say the least.”

Even so, the league and the players association felt it necessary to go ahead with the pared-down event.

“It would have been a bigger deal not to have (the all-star game),” commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday. “I mean, especially since we know how to operate a bubble, and we have we’ll call it our mini bubble here in Atlanta. From the moment the players land to when they leave, they’re only going to be operating between the hotel and the arena.

“Once we got to the point where we felt we could do it safely, we felt we definitely should go forward. We should do it for our fans and for our business.”

The protocols meant Simmons and Embiid had no contact with any other all-star game participant in Atlanta and that allowed the night’s events to go on.

It’s unclear how long Embiid and Simmons will have to be quarantined. The Eastern Conference-leading Sixers are scheduled to start the second half of the regular season Thursday in Chicago.

Source : Toronto Star More