Behind the Scenes at All-Star Weekend
All-Star weekend got off to an exciting start for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who have spent time exploring and making a difference in Chicago.
Simmons’ All-Star weekend began with a trip to the broadcast booth, joining the call for the NBA2K20 MyTeam Unlimited Tournament Final on Thursday evening.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 14, 2020
On Friday, both Sixers participated in a meaningful activity, joining the Jr. NBA at Navy Pier to help host clinics for over 1,000 youth from across the Chicago area.
Embiid and Simmons each participated in the day’s only all-girl session, each player running through drills with his own group.
Simmons, a Nike athlete, also visited NikeTown Friday to create his own custom gear.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 15, 2020
Saturday brought All-Star media and practice day for both players, preparing to face off on Sunday night (Simmons on Team LeBron, and Embiid on Team Giannis).
While both Sixers shared their thoughts on All-Star weekend and the road ahead, some of their All-Star teammates sang their praises.
Embiid’s fellow Team Giannis starter Trae Young commended Embiid for his unique skillset:
“He’s super smart. For him to be as big as he is, and for him to be that smart, that skilled, can shoot it - I feel like when he’s aggressive, nobody in this league can really stop him.”
Pascal Siakam also sang Embiid’s praises:
“He’s a big man that can shoot, that can dribble, and obviously he’s strong. On the post, you don’t know what kind of move he’s going to hit you with.”
Embiid, Simmons, and Siakam are among a record 19 international players participating in All-Star competition. Simmons discussed the significance of the game’s growing international presence:
“It’s exciting. Being from Australia, and having the opportunity to play in the All-Star game is special. There’s a lot of international players coming through that are great, and I think it’s just the start.”
And while Embiid himself expressed the excitement he feels going into All-Star weekend, he’s also itching to continue on his Sixer team’s mission, and get back to the grind of the latter part of the regular season.
“We’re here to enjoy ourselves and have fun… I wish we were playing though, because I feel like I was getting back to myself, and I was getting back into that mentality of dominating,” Embiid said.
After Sunday’s All-Star matchup, the Sixers will resume their regular-season schedule with a contest Thursday against the Nets.