The Philadelphia 76ers are currently 39-19 and sit in third place in the NBA Eastern Conference.
They do so, in large part, thanks to superstar center Joel Embiid.
Embiid, who has finished second in each of the last two NBA MVP races to Nikola Jokic, has taken his game to yet another level in the 2022-23 season.
He’s second in the league in scoring to Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic with 33.0 points per game. He’s also averaging 10.3 rebounds per game (ninth in the league) and 4.1 assists while anchoring the league’s third-best scoring defense.
Despite that, Embiid was named as only a reserve for the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star game. That, combined with teammate James Harden getting snubbed and a lingering foot injury to caused him to consider skipping the All-Star Game altogether.
There’s only one problem.
The league wouldn’t let that happen.
Injuries to LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and others already caused All-Star Game ratings to plummet. Apparently NBA commissioner Adam Silver wasn’t going to miss out on anybody else.
Doc Rivers Claims League Forced Joel Embiid To Play In All-Star Game
Sixers coach Doc Rivers was a guest on “The John Kincade Show” on local radio station 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday. During the interview, Rivers revealed that Embiid had no say in whether he took part in the game.
The comments begin shortly after the 3:14 mark in the video above.
“The night before, Joel called me and told me he wasn’t even playing,” Rivers said. “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.”
Considering Embiid has been on the injury list for Philly basically the entire season, it’s a bit of surprise to hear the league refuse to let him sit.
But I guess the two-time MVP runner-up just hasn’t yet built up that level of cache in the NBA yet