NBA legends have mocked Ben Simmons as ‘not that good’ as the Australian NBA star looks to turn his back on his team despite signing a US$200 million contract.
The Philadelphia point guard has been basted by fans, media, and ex-players after the 76ers crashed out of the playoffs largely thanks to his disappointing play.
Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley ripped into the Australian who requested a trade just a year after signing a massive contract extension with Philadelphia.
‘Ben Simmons, you’re not that good,’ O’Neal said on the Big Podcast.
‘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.’
Ben Simmons (pictured in London with his rumoured girlfriend Maya Jama) has been slammed as ‘not that good’ by NBA legends as the Australian NBA star looks to turn his back on his team despite signing a US$200million contract
The Philadelphia point guard has been lambasted by fans, media and ex-players after the 76ers crashed out of the playoffs largely thanks to the disappointing play of Simmons
Simmons has been criticised for his work ethic over his career, spending his time off on yachts in Europe with ex-girlfriend Kendall Jenner while other stars improved their game.
‘Don’t be putting pictures up on your Instagram of your Ferrari or what actress you’re hanging around with,’ O’Neal said.
‘When you play for a town like Philadelphia, Boston, LA, Miami – hard-working towns, they don’t give a s**t about none of that.
‘They want you to come work hard and play hard.’
Barkley said he was ‘disappointed’ Simmons accepted the US$200 million extension then wanting to leave the team after only one season.
The 25-year-old had been strongly linked with a move away from 76ers after their unceremonious exit from the playoffs, with Portland, Golden State and Minnesota all failing with trade offers.
Simmons was criticsed by O’Neal and Barkley for flaunting his wealth online but failing to improve his game even after five years in the NBA
‘I’m disappointed in Ben Simmons,’ Barkley said. ‘When you give somebody $US200 million to dribble a stupid basketball, and the only thing you ask him is be better as a player, and their first response is “I don’t wanna play here anymore”, that disappoints me as a player, that disappoints me as a fan.
‘They’re not saying “come over and cut my grass”. They’re saying, ”Ben, we need you to learn how to shoot the basketball”.’
Simmons has been heavily criticised for his terrible shooting even after five years in the league.
His three-point shooting has become disastrous, with teams leaving him wide open on the defensive end because of his inability to make a shot outside of the key.
The 25-year-old’s free throw shooting is also the butt of many jokes, falling to an awful 32.8 per cent in the 2020/21 playoffs.
Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley ripped into the Aussie who was hugely disappointing in the playoffs as Philadelphia crashed out in the Eastern Conference semi-finals
O’Neal, who was himself an infamously poor free throw shooter, even took aim at Simmons over the numbers and claimed he was scared of going to the line.
‘I know as a player, first thing I do is look in the player’s eyes. That man was out there terrified,’ O’Neal said.
‘Not terrified of playing, but terrified of being fouled and missing free throws. Forget all that.’
Simmons, who is represented by LeBron James’ Klutch Sports, will continue to be the subject of trade rumours as Philadelphia and its fans look to move on from the talented but flawed star.
His reputation took a massive hit in Australia after the 25-year-old told Australia he would not be representing them at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, instead using the summer to ‘to focus on individual skill development’.
But just days later he was seen on Monday at the grand slam in London with Maya Jama, drawing heavy criticism from outraged fans.
‘As an Aussie I think Ben Simmons electing NOT to play for our national team under the guise of “offseason improvement” and then being seen smooching at Wimbledon is a kick in the guts for us over here,’ one person tweeted.
Confirmed: Maya Jama, 26, and Ben Simmons, 24, confirmed relationship rumours after they were spotted passionately kissing at Wimbledon day seven on Monday
Getting cosy: The pair looked besotted as they snuggled up to one another and watched the game unfold from the stands
The 26-year-old presenter was first rumoured to be linked to Simmons when she was seen on a night out on Saturday 26 June at restaurant Sexy Fish in London.
She was the first to leave the venue, closely followed by the NBA star a few moments later.
Simmons told Basketball Australia he would not be participating in the Olympics in the lead-up to the competition.
The decision was met with widespread disappointment from Australians, who were further angered by seeing him at the tennis competition with his girlfriend, who has amassed more than 2.2 million Instagram followers.
‘Ben Simmons couldn’t turn up for Australia in the Olympics but rocks up to Wimbledon… what a drag,’ one posted to social media.
‘Ben Simmons skipped the Olympics to “work on his shot” but ended up watching tennis at Wimbledon,’ another tweeted.
A third fan asked ‘I wonder what his Boomers “teammates” think of this’ after San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills expressed his disappointment at the decision.