NBA: No players, coaches or officials tested positive for coronavirus at All-Star

2021 70th NBA All-Star Game
Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images
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76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons missing the All-Star game due to coronavirus issues gave ammo to everyone who said the NBA shouldn’t hold the event.

Except Embiid and Simmons were held out due to contact tracing from haircuts they got in Philadelphia, never interacted with other All-Stars in Atlanta and tested negative.

In fact, all NBA players, coaches and officials at All-Star repeatedly tested negative.

Per an NBA spokesperson:

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.  Each of those tests returned a negative result, confirming no one on the court for last night’s events was infected.

John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

It seems too early for the NBA to take a victory lap. If a player contracted coronavirus just before arriving in Atlanta, he wouldn’t have necessarily tested positive yet. If someone got coronavirus while leaving Atlanta, that could be considered related to the NBA holding an All-Star game.

But the NBA’s All-Star coronavirus protocols were always well-designed to prevent spread at least as effectively as with a regular-season game.

The risk, relatively, was mostly strategic. If a coronavirus issue occurs in a regular-season game, it affects only two teams and a limited number of stars. If a coronavirus issue occurred during the All-Star game, it would have affected many teams and the league’s most-marketable players.

Both owners and the players’ union decided the payoff justified the risk.

It’s also worth remembering: Players not participating in All-Star can get coronavirus during this break.