Ben Simmons might be the most criticized player over the past two seasons because his unwillingness to get on the court with the 76ers and then the Brooklyn Nets.
Simmons, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since the Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, has been heavily criticized for his role in the Sixers losing that series and the handling of his relationship with the team thereafter.
The Brooklyn Nets guard directed criticism at Shaquille O’Neal when he appeared on J.J. Redick’s podcast. He took issue with O’Neal’s past public approach toward him.
“People go through it… Doesn’t matter how much money you got, how famous you are, like it’s real, people go through everyday struggles… I think it’s kinda ignorant, like Shaq and Chuck sometimes what they’re saying. ‘Cause they have a platform to kind of like protect us and, you know, do good. Um, obviously they’re supposed to criticize us, you know, we’re basketball players. But when it comes to personal stuff there’s a level of respect they should have. Even Shaq, like, when I was dealing with everything going on, I actually messaged him and he put it out. And I was like, alright.”
“I DM’d him and I was like, ‘why are you saying this if you don’t even know the story?’ ‘Cause he always wants to say like yo, we’re LSU brothers, you’re my brother, all this, that. If you’re my LSU brother you would’ve reached out by now and it’s been months since I’ve been dealing with this. You ain’t reached out once and said like, ‘hey, you OK? Like, what’s going on.’”
Simmons’ mental health issues became public during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers. It became a big issue between him and the team which led to the three-time All-Star being traded to the Nets.
Hopefully, his mental and physical are fine enough for him to finally get back on the court.