Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons has not played a single game all season. Why? He wants to be traded. Why? Because after a hopeless postseason in 2021 in which Simmons shot 34.2 percent of the free-throw line before being bounced in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons rightly received a lot of criticism from NBA fans, national media, local news channels, his own coacheven mainstream celebrities. Simmons can’t handle the heat.
He wants a fresh start somewhere where he can just play around and not worry about trolling the internet. Is that too much to ask?
According to Shaquille O’Neal, it absolutely is.
The former MVP and four-time NBA champion called Simmons a “crybaby” for his performance, claiming that while all players receive criticism, the truly great players take the criticism, learn from it, and improve. They don’t sit still for an entire season and ask to be traded. In the video, Shaq claims that he and NBA on TNT fellow player Charles Barkley have criticized numerous players right in the face, including 76ers forward and runner-up in 2021 NBA MVP Joel Embiid. While Embiid took the criticism to heart, Simmons acted like a hermit crab, trying to hide in his shell, away from all the mean people who joked about his pathetic jump shot.
Simmons wasn’t kind to Shaq’s criticism, and a week later the Aussie jumped into Shaq’s DMs on social media to voice his grievances. O’Neal explained the situation on “The Big” Podcast, stating that Simmons was upset that Shaq would call a fellow LSU Tiger. Shaq responded by stating that Simmons should be on the ground to help his teammate, Embiid, earn the MVP Award and first place in the Eastern Conference.
Simmons’ decision to sit out doesn’t help anyone at all, including Simmons, whose trade value has plummeted since the end of the 2021 season. All of Simmons’ actions have made it harder for the 76ers to win (arguably) and cast a negative light to shine on its own. If Simmons really wanted to prove all his haters wrong, he would have worked on his jump shot during the off-season and… you know, got a few shots. That’s the best way to summon the haters, but hide and refuse to do anything? That’s something toddlers do, and it’s called a tantrum.
O’Neal has every right to scam Simmons for his actions, and by taking revenge as he did, Simmons only proved O’Neal’s point. He can’t take criticism. He worries too much about what other people think of him, and he is so gentle that he can’t even take advice from someone many years away from a similar situation.
Shaq’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers was defined by championships. Yes, he and Kobe Bryant might not always get along, but the two came out together and shared in all their glory out of love for the game and mutual interest in winning titles. Shaq acknowledged that his relationship with Kobe may have even hurt the Lakers team, and if he could go back and do it all over again, he would. “I realized this after I left LA,” O’Neal said on the podcast. “I don’t want to fight my whole career for a useless title. Shake the man. Shaq, this is your team.’ What the hell does all that mean? It means nothing. I could have won eight or nine championships with that man [Kobe Bryant] instead of us both arguing about whose team it is.”
Shaq has more experience in every department than Simmons – apart from playing on the Australian national team; Simmons has an edge there. You’d think O’Neal would be one of the people Simmons would turn to for advice on how to deal with the situation he’s currently in, but no. Instead, Simmons would rather go after Shaq for hurting his feelings, and (probably) mutter statements like “You don’t know what you’re talking about” when in reality Shaq knows all too well.
Maybe that’s why no team wants to trade for him. Perhaps that’s why, even as Philadelphia’s asking price has fallen and fallen and fallen as the trade deadline approaches, no team is willing to add him to their team.
Simmons is a three-time All-Star and has been named to an All-NBA Defensive team twice in just four years. Teams should be lining up to trade for him, especially with three years left on his contract. Instead, they stand idly by, hoping the 76ers will drop their asking price to $3.50, some hot gummy bears and four tickets to see Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, if Simmons carries on this tantrum, they may not even get it.