‘It Killed Me’: Ben Simmons Speaks Out On 76ers Stalemate

"Don't talk if you don't know."

‘It Killed Me’: Ben Simmons Speaks Out On 76ers Stalemate

Ben Simmons attends a game between the Nets and the 76ers on July 10, 2022. Image: Getty

Ben Simmons says the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t provide a supportive environment for him, citing a back injury as part of the reason he didn’t play for such a long period. He also said his Philly coach and certain teammates basically threw him under the bus.

Speaking to former teammate JJ Redick on The Old Man & the Three podcast, Australian NBA star Ben Simmons has talked about the differences between “the calm place” he is now with The Nets and the chaotic place he was in when he was with the 76ers.

Other than confirming: “No I didn’t leave the group chat,” (he also said he wasn’t sprung with a phone at training, which was another rumour going around), Simmons also spoke out about the controversial period of time when he wasn’t playing for the 76ers.

RELATED: Ben Simmons Receives Hostile Reception On Return To Philly

Simmons said he had a bad back injury that happened off the court, which was part of what kept him sidelined for so long (during the so-called “stalemate” between him and the club). While Simmons maintains it was for mental health reasons (and his back) many angry fans felt otherwise, assuming it had to do with money, pride, being unable to handle criticism and trying to force through a trade.

“That’s what I hate about the internet; just f*****g people making anything up and it just gets taken too far.”

Ben Simmons

Simmons said he first felt a soreness when working out. He then went to run up a set of stairs and felt the whole right side of his body drop. He then lay down and could not move, later learning he had hurt his L4-5 disc.

“If I’m hurt; I’m hurt.”

Ben Simmons

As for his mental struggles, when Redick asked if they started in the Hawks series (where the 76ers lost a crucial game), Simmons said it was more so later, after people started rinsing him.

“I’m already dealing with a lot mentally in life, as a lot of people do, but it got to a point where after that series I’m getting the people you’re supposed to have the support from… I wasn’t getting that either so it was a toll on me.”

“Mentally it killed me. I was like f**k, I don’t have energy for anything and I was in a dark place and it took me a long time. The first thing for me was really to identify… it’s not a physical thing it’s mental. That first thing of acknowledging it was a huge step for me and I was like: ‘Ok, I need to address this. I need help in these areas.'”

“Being able to do that was the start to getting to where I’m at now, and I feel comfortable talking about it now.”

Ben Simmons

“Everything’s public, that’s the craziest part. Everybody goes through different struggles. Everyone has their own battles. [It was] tough for me; I didn’t really have that support from team mates… I don’t care about the money, I want peace and happiness and I want to be in a good place.”

“Peace is more valuable than money.”

Ben Simmons

“I didn’t feel like I got it [support] from coaches, teammates – I won’t say all teammates because there’s great guys on that team that did reach out and are still my friends – but I didn’t feel like I got that, and it was just a tough place for me.”

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Simmons said he tried to return to the 76ers’ practice last season, in an effort to do the right thing by his team mates, despite not mentally being ready, but coach Doc Rivers kicked him out of practice and later suspended him.

“I actually spoke to Doc before practice. I was like, ‘Doc, I’m not ready. Mentally, I’m not ready. Please just understand that,’” Simmons told Redick.

“I tried to let him know prior, and he was like, ‘Well, I’m going to put you in anyway.’ I’m like, ‘All right.’ He told me to get in. I looked at him. It was like one minute into practice, like, ‘Ben, get in.’”

“I’m like, first of all, no one’s doing that. You’re doing this on purpose. And that’s how I felt, too. It seems like everyone’s trying to f**k with me now. I’m getting fined for not lifting weights, but physically I’m one of the strongest guys on the f*****g team. So now they’re fining me for little things. It was just a build-up. Obviously, I didn’t handle things the right way, but, also, the team didn’t either, and the people who had that power.”

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Simmons also said that he thought Shaquille O’Neale’s criticism of him was ignorant, saying “they have a platform to protect us and stuff and do good… obviously they are supposed to criticise us – we’re basketball players – but when it comes to personal stuff there is a level of respect they should have.”

“Don’t talk if you don’t know.”

Ben Simmons

Simmons sat out the start of the 2021-22 season at the same time as he tried to get a trade away from the 76ers. The 76ers traded him to the Brooklyn Nets in February, in return for Paul Millsap and James Harden. Simmons never played last season and got surgery in April for a back injury.

As for the future, Simmons told Redick he was “so excited” about the new number and new jersey. He said the Nets are a special team and “if we get it all together we’re going to be champions.”

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