Shaquille O’Neal isn’t holding back when it comes to his feelings regarding Ben Simmons‘ situation with the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons has asked the Sixers for a trade and doesn’t plan to report to the team until his wish is granted, and that doesn’t sit right with O’Neal, especially following Simmons’ underwhelming performance in the playoffs last season.
“One, he’s not showing up. As a player, you have to be able to be real with yourself,” O’Neal said during a recent appearance on CBS Sports Network’s Tiki and Tierney. “You need to be aggressive and he definitely got exposed last year in the playoffs, he didn’t want to shoot.
“You have to look in the mirror and say ‘Am I as good as I can be?’ He’s going about it all wrong,” O’Neal added. “He could have gone into the office, say ‘hey, my feelings are hurt. You guys didn’t stick up for me. I’d like to professionally ask for a trade.’ The question is, does anyone want him? I’m not paying $200 million for a guy who will not be aggressive and will not shoot in playoff time.”
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This isn’t the first time that Shaq has sounded off on Simmons. On his podcast earlier this month, O’Neal said that Simmons simply isn’t good enough to behave the way that he is — a sentiment that has been echoed by a plethora of other former players and media members.
“I have G-14 classification to say what I’m about to say, and so does Charles Barkley: Ben Simmons, you’re not that good,” O’Neal said. “And then, in this league, do you want to be good or do you want to be great? You’re not great. But if you want to get to that next level, you have to be great. And to be great, you have to work on your game.
“Don’t be putting pictures on your Instagram of your Ferrari or what actress you’re hanging around with. When you play for a town like Philadelphia, Boston, L.A., Miami — a hard-working town — they don’t give a s— about none of that. They want you to come, work hard and play hard… I was at that Game 6 when that man didn’t even look at the basket. And I know, as a player, the first thing I do is I look in a player’s eyes. That man was out there terrified. Not terrified of playing, but terrified of being fouled and missing free throws. Forget all that.”
O’Neal’s criticism of Simmons is fair, as the Sixers star has shown a serious lack of accountability since the end of last season. Ultimately though, O’Neal’s comments likely won’t have an impact on Simmons, who appears to be resolute in his plan to never suit up for the Sixers again, regardless of how his approach harms his public perception.