The Main Event

by Lauren Rosen

The main event is upon us.

Sunday in Chicago, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will face off in the 2020 All-Star Game, playing on opposing teams for the second straight year.

After a weekend filled with media and practice, appearances, and making a difference, both players will be featured on one of the game’s biggest stages.

At Saturday’s media day, the 23-year-old Simmons took a moment to reflect on the All-Star experience, and what it means to him.

“I think just enjoying the moment that we have here. It’s an exciting time to be an All-Star, it’s a blessing. We’re very fortunate to be here,” Simmons said.

For the Sixer point man, being an All-Star means living a lifelong dream.

“I had no doubt in my mind growing up - this is what I wanted to do,” Simmons said. “This is what I wanted to be.”

Simmons will be participating in his second straight All-Star game, playing for Team LeBron. Embiid, in his third All-Star game, will start for Team Giannis.

This All-Star selection held extra significance for Embiid, who will play alongside friend and fellow Cameroonian All-Star Pascal Siakam.

“When [Pascal] got named an All-Star, I was more happy for him than myself,” Embiid said Saturday. “Being from Cameroon, and having another guy also make it, I think is amazing for my country, and it’s amazing for Africa too.”

First-time All-Star Siakam sent the praise right back.

“[Joel’s] defensive presence - he’s a great player. Playing against him is definitely tough, and we’ve had a lot of battles. It will be fun to play together.”

Meanwhile, one of Simmons’ Team LeBron teammates, Domantas Sabonis, also had praise to share.

“[Ben is a] very talented player. He runs the offense - tough player to stop because he has a bunch of shooters around him. He can finish, either way. He’s just a competitor,” Sabonis said.

As Simmons and Embiid prepare to tackle the rest of the season together, Sunday’s contest allows a unique chance to face and appreciate the league’s best - before the real battles continue.

The All-Star Game tips at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT.

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