76ers

Joel Embiid named NBA All-Star Game starter for second straight season

Joel Embiid named NBA All-Star Game starter for second straight season

If you've watched Joel Embiid play this season, you likely have little doubt that he’s one of the best players in the NBA. 

That became official on Thursday night, when the Sixers center was named an All-Star starter for the second straight season. Embiid is the first Sixer to be selected to back-to-back All-Star games since Allen Iverson, who made seven consecutive All-Star teams from 1999-2000 to 2005-2006.

This year’s game will be held on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. ET at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Embiid is averaging 27.2 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 blocks per game for the 32-17 Sixers, and he has a league-leading 40 double-doubles. He’s defended 798 shots, most in the Eastern Conference, and opponents are shooting just 44.6 percent against him. 

His impact on the Sixers is massive on both ends of the floor. Embiid has a 31.7 percent usage rate, behind only the incomparable outlier that is James Harden. The Sixers’ defensive rating rises from 102.3 when he’s on the court to 108.1 when he’s on the bench

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker were named the other starters from the East, while LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Stephen Curry and James Harden were selected from the Western Conference. Starters were decided by weighting fans votes at 50 percent, player votes at 25 percent and media votes at 25 percent.

Head coaches will choose seven reserves from each conference to round out the rosters, which will be announced next Thursday at 7 p.m.

Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler are strong contenders for two of those spots, as we detailed here. The Sixers haven't had three All-Stars in a season since Charles Barkley, Julius Erving and Maurice Cheeks in 1986-87.

Captains James and Antetokounmpo, the two leading vote-getters, will choose their teams in a draft on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. on TNT. 

That promises to be an interesting event, with the trade deadline at 3 p.m. on the same day. 

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Watch Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade share vulnerable All-Star moment over Kobe

Watch Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade share vulnerable All-Star moment over Kobe

A huge portion of the weekend's NBA All-Star Game was dedicated to remembering Lakers legend and Philly-area native Kobe Bryant, from the touching pre-game tribute to the players' jersey numbers.

There were plenty of Bryant jerseys among the weekend's attendees, too, including Sixers legend Allen Iverson, who sported a No. 8 yellow Bryant jersey during Sunday's All-Star Game.

Iverson was interacting with some fans at the United Center in Chicago when he bumped into Dwyane Wade, and the two shared a beautifully unscripted, vulnerable moment. Incredibly, one fan captured the scene, and video of the two legends' interaction surfaced Tuesday afternoon:

That's something special.

Wade and Iverson's NBA careers overlapped for seven years, including six shared All-Star Games. Bryant entered the league the same year as Iverson, and Wade made his final All-Star Game the year Bryant retired.

The three spent so much shared time in the league, creating their own stories and navigating their own paths, and it's an absolute tragedy that Bryant wasn't in Chicago this past weekend to enjoy yet another show from the league's stars.

Moments like this one help remind fans that, while players like Bryant, Wade, and Iverson often seem superhuman, they're ultimately people like us, and they process grief just like we do.

Good on Wade and Iverson for being there for each other.

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

Though the NBA All-Star festivities have officially come to an end, the Sixers aren’t set to play again for another three nights. When you’re an avid sports fan, that seems like an eternity.

What are Sixers fans supposed to do during this break while they wait for their favorite team to get back in action?

I suggest a daily dose of wholesome content.

Today's edition of wholesome content comes from a place of warmer weather, with Sixers old and new vacationing together.

That's right, Matisse Thybulle is currently on vacation with former Sixers T.J. McConnell and Jonah Bolden. The past and present of fan favorites have come together to enjoy the little break in their hectic schedules.

And by the look of things, they're definitely enjoying themselves with ... whatever they're doing here.

And when the players are on the court, fans care about their shoe choice  — so the same should apply off the court, right?

With that being said, Thybulle went with a white croc and is rockin' them. One might even say ... crockin' them. Yes, I actually wrote that.

Anyways, the Sixers are back in action Thursday night when they host the Nets. Then and only then will the bad puns stop ... maybe.

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