Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons out of 2021 NBA All-Star Game After Visiting Barber

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons talk during an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers players Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were both scheduled to play in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game but have been ruled ineligible as a result of COVID-19 contact tracing, the NBA announced.

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic first reported the news and also noted the players both used a barber who tested positive for COVID-19. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the barber's positive was confirmed with a second test.

Wojnarowski also reported there are no plans for Embiid or Simmons to be replaced in the All-Star Game.

They have not been exposed to any other players in Atlanta since arriving on private planes.

The two players have led the 76ers to the best record in the Eastern Conference through the first half of the year (24-12).

Embiid is an MVP candidate while ranking second in the NBA with 30.2 points per game, adding 11.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Simmons is averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game as one of the most versatile players in the league.

The impressive production meant a fourth straight All-Star selection for Embiid and third consecutive for Simmons.

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The 76ers teammates were picked to different squads for Sunday's game, with Embiid supposed to start for Team Durant and Simmons to come off the bench for Team LeBron.

The development is similar to the Kansas City Chiefs last month, which had two players go on the NFL's reserve/COVID list after contact with a barber ahead of the Super Bowl.