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According to Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid did not want to play in the All-Star Game. The NBA made him play anyway.
Embiid, who is averaging 33 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists during the 2022/23 season, is a crucial component to the 76ers’ success. Philadelphia is currently third in the East at 39-19.
Despite his strong play this year, Embiid continues to play through a nagging foot injury that required surgery during the offseason. As such, he would have preferred to use the All-Star break as a chance to rest up and get healthy.
Embiid was not a starter in the game and did not compete in any of the other festivities. It would not have been that big of a deal if he wasn’t there.
Rivers, though, says that it wasn’t an option. He claims that the league forced his star center to participate.
During a recent appearance on ‘The John Kincade Show,’ Rivers said that it was not Embiid’s decision to play in the game or not. That decision was made by the NBA.
The night before, Joel called me and told me he wasn’t even playing. So he wasn’t even gonna go, and then he had to go, basically, because they told him ‘you have to be (here).’ I mean, he didn’t want to play.— Doc Rivers, via The John Kincade Show
In the end, Embiid ended up playing 28 minutes during the NBA All-Star Game and scored 32 points with seven assists and four rebounds. His foot held up fine, but apparently, he didn’t want to be there in the first place.
Ratings for the game were absolutely abysmal and Embiid’s presence on the court likely didn’t add any significant viewership. Nobody tuned into the game specifically because he was playing.
And considering that Embiid has been on the 76ers’ injury report for much of the season, it seems like a weird move that the NBA would force him to suit up. If Rivers’ allegations are true, it’s a bad look for Adam Silver and the league.
Wouldn’t you want the two-time MVP runner-up to be at his best down the stretch? Weird move.