Roughly half an hour before the Sixers and the Lakers tipped off, Philadelphia found out its superstar center Joel Embiid was All-Star bound once again as he was voted in as an Eastern Conference frontcourt starter.
Embiid's latest All-Star nod became his fifth overall. For the fourth consecutive time, he'll start with the rest of the Eastern Conference stars.
"You know, I could never take that for granted," Embiid said after Thursday night's game against the Lakers. "You know, five times in a row now. Blessed, really to be in this position. You know, there's not a lot of guys that get to go through this. So anytime it happens you know I'm just blessed."
Considering the season Embiid is having this year, it didn't come as a surprise that he made the big showcase. Coming off of a year where he was the NBA MVP runner-up, Embiid has been playing at an even higher level than last year. Therefore, his All-Star nod hardly shocked his head coach, Doc Rivers.
"I didn't know he made it until two seconds ago," Rivers claimed after the game. "I walked in and congratulated him. Obviously, he was gonna make it, but he's done more than just being an All-Star for us. He's doing everything for us on and off the floor. That's why we have the record. I mean with all the stuff floating around this team we just keep winning. A lot of that is Joel’s leadership."
With 158 total player votes, over four million fan votes, and 98 media votes, Embiid trailed just Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant in Eastern Conference frontcourt voting.
With his latest nod, Embiid is the first Sixers player to be named an All-Star starter in at least five straight since Allen Iverson started seven straight from 2000 to 2006.
The superstar big man is the fourth player in Sixers history to be named an All-Star starter at least five times. The only franchise players with more starting selections are Julius Erving, Dolph Schayes, and Iverson.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.