Ben Simmons looks ahead at the camera. PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR
(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 28, 2021)
Associate Sports Editor
There have been many things going on in the world of basketball, but by far the biggest news out there is the news about Philadelphia 76ers point guard/small forward Ben Simmons. And this news is NOT the good kind.
After a disappointing playoff performance from Simmons, which saw him struggle to put up numbers in the shots department as well as him being so unconfident in his ability that he would rather pass up a free dunk and throw his teammate a surprise pass, than simply dunk the ball, Simmons has since refused to play. He didn’t show up to training camp as well as requesting a trade. Not only that, but a now viral video shows Simmons not even trying when he did finally show up to preseason practice; this may have been one of the reasons why the 76ers head coach suspended him.
This whole mess of a situation started after the 76ers’ poor playoff performance against the Atlanta Hawks in the Conference Semifinals. The 76ers were the first seed in their conference and managed to beat the Washington Wizards 4-1. However, the story proved very different against the Hawks.
The 76ers have some fantastic players, including two superstars in Joel Embiid, and of course, Ben Simmons. This led to many people believing that the Sixers would be able to advance to the next round with ease. However, that wouldn’t prove the case, as Simmons was unable to stay consistent throughout the series.
Because of that and the failed dunk in game seven, they lost to the Hawks. After that, fans and even teammates were frustrated at Simmons’ efforts and wanted him to work on his game so that he could improve. However, it seems that the pressure from Philly, ever increasing, has finally put Simmons over the edge.
He seemed to have no interest in the team, or even basketball, and the evidence for that is in his decision to not go to training camp and requesting a trade from the team. Analysts such as Stephen A. Smith have gone at Simmons on air and on social media.
In a post on his Instagram account, Smith takes shots at Simmons, saying that Simmons is going to have a “cancerous” effect on the locker room. Even his fellow teammates, such as Joel Embiid, a star center playing for the Sixers, have expressed frustration with his actions, but that isn’t the end of this.
With his suspension ending, Simmons then spoke about his difficulties with mental health. According to the article, “Ben Simmons says he’s not mentally prepared to return to Sixers,” by Complex’s James Sanders, Simmons had spoken to his teammates, saying that he wasn’t quite ready to return to the 76ers organization just yet. This was a surprising turn of events and something that a lot of people weren’t expecting.
He seemed to not want to play for the 76ers at all but was willing to play on other teams. Why the sudden change? Well, at least to me, this isn’t that big of a shock. Being a professional athlete in any sport is not easy, and a player under as much criticism as Simmons is bound to run into tough times.
This news has changed the situation about Simmons massively, as fans are now waiting with bated breath on whether or not Simmons will become the superstar that the whole league knows he can be. Or, if the pressure has finally got to Simmons, will this result in the end of what has been a very productive career so far?