Ben Simmons (Benjamin David Simmons) is an Australian professional basketball player for the NBA, who was drafted in 2017 by the 76ers. He is 6’10 with long arms and legs that were promising to the league. He was the first drafted pick in the NBA that year, making him one of the most sought after players in the organization. Shortly after his arrival to the league, 76er fans and NBA enthusiasts were not impressed by his performance. Besides a few spottings with his recent girlfriend, Kendall Jenner (2018), Ben Simmons was pretty quiet towards the press. He signed a 5-year $177,243,360 contract with the 76ers included with an annual average of $33 million dollars.
Philadelphia can be a tough crowd as it pertains to music, sports, entertainment, etc. But one thing they don’t play about, is their sports. Simmons has been criticized for “not showing up” or “getting cold feet” after starting his career in the NBA. He was passing the ball more than he was taking shots. He shoots 60% from the free-throw line, since the postseason. Since his addition to the 76ers his point average remained relatively 15-17 points per game, with around 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. Which doesn’t mean he’s a horrible player. But definitely confuses 76ers fans and teammates who believed him to show why he was the #1 pick in the NBA draft (2017)).
After the last few years of pre-season practices, games, and post season politics, Simmons has publicly stated he no longer wants to play for the 76ers. On Monday, October 18th Simmons was thrown out of practice and later suspended. According to 76ers representatives and teammates Simmons “doesn’t want to play– or even practice– with the Philadelphia 76ers anymore”. Coach Doc Rivers was signed and hired as the 76ers head coach in 2020, hoping to salvage their legacy.
After season games, players spoke with the tabloids expressing their frustration with Ben Simmons performance. 76ers player Joel Embiid reportedly says “he has not spoken to Ben Simmons since he returned to the team”. Saying “it is not my job to babysit anyone on the team”. There were also videos capturing the team’s dynamic during practice. The video shows Simmons on the outside of the huddle, and later leaving to go back to the locker rooms, while his teammates disperse onto the court smiling and laughing. This type of behavior isn’t ideal for a great team dynamic on and off the court. Simmons expressed “If Philly doesn’t want me, I’ll play somewhere else”. And has actively been negotiating different trade deals, outside of his 76ers 5-year contract. (2021) Simmons will not play in the season opener game for the 76ers, and officials are waiting to see what direct impact this will have on the NBA.