The number one topic of discussion in the NBA currently is the Ben Simmons’ issue at the Philadelphia 76ers. The rumours are going off the charts and Simmons’ reputation has received quite a hit with the whole saga that started from last season.
While the Australian point guard asked for a trade to the Sixers, he was heavily criticised by media including former NBA Champion, Shaquille O’Neal.
The whole fiasco began last season in match 7 against the Atlanta Hawks. During the dying moments of the match Simmons passed the ball to his teammate, Matisse Thybull whereas, it was a clear dunking chance for the Aussie.
Therefore the criticisms began as many called him out for being scared of the ball. His performance against the Hawks was way below his level but things got heated after that game. Sixers fans started flooding social media handles with heateful messages, videos. They mocked the Australian and made fun of him and all of that continued for a couple of days. It affected Simmons mentally and hence he wants to leave Philadelphia and play for some other franchise.
The thing became even nastier when Shaquille O’Neal instead of support Simmons took a dig at him. He called Simmons out on his podcast, ‘The Big Podcast With Shaq’ mainly because of missing training sessions. He said, “You’re not that good. You’re not great.”
However former Detroit Pistons player John Sally spoke in support of Simmons and criticised Shaq for not understanding the psychological factor that the young Aussie has gone through. Sally said, “Ben Simmons ran into a psychological situation. Distress in your brain literally takes away from your talent. And he just couldn’t get his mojo going…”
Sally went on adding about Kyrie Irving and Aaron Rodgers and highlighted how there is a life outside the game. He also cautioned media people and analysts not to speak about someone if you don’t know them personally. He added, “When they start realizing there’s more to life than this game, you start acting different. I don’t ever think of taking shots at people if you don’t know them personally. When you’re saying something and you’re pushing these on, you probably never sat down and had a conversation. You don’t know what demons or angels people are dealing with.”
Sally wants people like Shaq to be more careful and understand situations that people are going through before calling them out. However, apart from the former Lakers man, Charles Barkley has also called out Simmons for his fallout with the Philadelphia 76ers management and his attitude towards the franchise ahead of a new season.