During an appearance on “The Old Man and The Three” podcast with J.J. Reddick, the three-time All-Star opened up about the city and his time spent with the Sixers.
“Philly is obviously a sports city. And my experience playing there was incredible,” said Simmons. “Like, for the most part, it was incredible. I had a great time. The fans are unbelievable. I still have an apartment there…”
“I feel like I’m a part of Philly still. It’s just unique. Even being in Brooklyn now, it’s completely different. This is a different experience for me. And, you know, I value that time I did spend in Philly because I was able to learn and grow in that city, and I got friends for life there.”
“My brother lives there. I got family there. So yeah, Philly’s great. I think people have like a thought that I think that I hate it.”
Nets’ Ben Simmons: “I feel like I’m part of Philly still”
However, Simmons couldn’t help but feel some negative tension between him and 76ers fans. On February 10, 2022, the guard was traded to the Nets, along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, a 2022 first-round draft pick, and a 2027 first-round draft pick.
Not to mention, he also missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a contract holdout, back injury, and mental health problems. Even Nets fans were disappointed that he didn’t appear in a single game of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics. Of course, the Nets got swept.
On the subject of bad blood between him and some Philadelphia fans, Simmons said, “Well, people in Philly just want to have something to say about f–king anything, man. Everything. Literally everything. I post a picture of a f–king car or a dog, I got reporters saying you should be in the f–king gym.”
While he’s correct about petty criticism and trolls on social media, Ben Simmons also could have played a little bit last season. When facing a three-game series deficit in the first round of the playoffs, Nets coaches and fans expect all hands on deck.
Hall of Famers Reggie Miller and Shaquille O’Neal called him out. “If you’re not ready to play, you will get more respect from the people if you say ‘I’m not ready to play,’ explained Shaq. “Don’t say nothing else, don’t be shooting and saying, ‘I’m coming back, Imma do this.’ That was a punk move, Reggie’s absolutely right.”
Now, this chapter is closed. Simmons is with the Nets, James Harden is on the 76ers, and hopefully Philly fans can move on. The 26-year-old plans to play the entire 2022-23 season.
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