Ben Simmons seemed a bit down on his 25th birthday, but Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green came through to help cheer him up.
The Philadelphia 76ers star took to social media to leave a heartfelt message celebrating his birthday, acknowledging that he’s been through some difficult times recently. While Simmons didn’t reference exactly what he meant, the post comes just a few weeks after he took some harsh criticism after his team was eliminated from the playoffs. Green, no stranger to criticism himself, had an uplifting message for the Sixers big man.
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Green Lifts Up Simmons
On his birthday, Simmons shared an Instagram reflecting on his life and its ups and downs, saying he’s determined to remain positive.
“Reflecting back I’ve experienced some amazing highs and with that, some of the lowest lows,” he wrote. “Life’s a journey.. I’ll always remain relentless and remain human through it all. Here’s to my 25 year #Relentlesspursuit (emoji) doing what I love on my bday I’m blessed (emoji).”
Simmons saw plenty of lows this year, when many blamed him for Philadelphia’s playoff exit and reports emerged that the Sixers were looking to trade him away. In the Sixers’ seven-game loss to the Hawks in the conference semifinals, Simmons averaged just 9.9 points and was 15-for-45 from the free-throw line (33.3%).
The criticism was often quite vocal. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley, in response to a fan asking whether the Bulls should trade for Simmons, replied that it was not worth acquiring the “mentally beaten down” version that has emerged recently.
But Green was all about positivity on Simmons’ birthday. He left a comment on the big man’s post, telling him not to give much attention to his doubters.
“Man stop letting these people get in your head young King,” Green wrote. “Enjoy your birthday, basketball ain’t got nothing to do with it, so don’t let them intertwine life and basketball for you. Enjoy your life and enjoy hoop. You’ve earned earned both! You don’t owe anybody anything! You have earned everything you have! Happy born day brotha!”
Green Stands Up To His Critics
Even before defending Simmons, Green has not been very kind with the sport’s more vocal critics. In a recent appearance on HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” he had some very choice words for those who think he passes up on too many shots — a criticism that both he and Simmons share. Green shot back, saying that it isn’t his place on the team to be taking too many shots and that it’s much better for teammate Steph Curry to get the bulk of the team’s offensive chances.
In his statement, Green said that these critics are revealing their lack of knowledge about the game.