Charles Barkley Sends Cryptic Warning Toward Ben Simmons Ahead of Sixers Homecoming

Ben Simmons, Sixers

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets walks on the court during halftime against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on March 10, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 129-100.

You have to take things one game at a time in the NBA. However, there are certain matchups that every team has circled going into the season. The matchup with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday is one game the Philadelphia 76ers will be particularly looking forward to. This will be Ben Simmons’ first return to Philadelphia to play, assuming he suits up for the matchup.

Charles Barkley of TNT’s NBA Today recently voiced his concern about the situation. While on the program he stated, “I do not feel good about that situation next Tuesday. He’s playing bad. They(‘re) going to let him have it. I hope nothing bad happens… like a fan doing something crazy. Cause it’s gonna be bad and like I say ‘he can’t even rub in their face playing good’. It’s gonna be a hostile environment…He’s gotta play, but man it’s gonna be bad. Man Philadelphia don’t mess around.”

Barkley’s Experience in Philadelphia

Barkley is no stranger in Philadelphia as he spent eight seasons playing for the Sixers during his playing career. He was wildly successful and averaged 22.3 points and 11.6 rebounds throughout his tenure. Barkley made the All-Star team in six of the eight seasons and also led the NBA in rebounding during the 1986-87 season. As a team, the Sixers made the playoffs in six of the seasons with Barkley and he was the best player on the team during this stretch. He also had his number 34 jersey number retired by the organization due to his strong play.

The city of Philadelphia has been known to be harsh on opposing teams and fans when traveling to play there. While this is overstated at times, it is safe to assure Simmons will not have a warm reception upon his return.

Simmons’ Experience in Philadelphia

Unlike Barkley, Sixers fans do not have the fondest memories of Simmons. The 26-year-old was selected with the first overall pick in 2016 and looked at as one of the true fruits of the labor of ‘The Process’ years. Simmons spent four seasons with the Sixers where he won Rookie of the Year and cracked the All-Star team three times. He averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game during his time with the Sixers.

Simmons’ story in Philadelphia hit its conclusion during the 2020-21 postseason against the Atlanta Hawks. His decision to pass up the dunk in favor of a pass to Matisse Thybulle was a crucial point in the game and the overall breaking point for Simmons. He was criticized by Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers following the event which led to Simmons feeling betrayed and ultimately forcing his way out.

Things worked out for the Sixers as they traded Simmons to the Nets in the package that landed James Harden. The LSU product made his return to Philadelphia last season for a matchup in the second half of the season but he did not play in the matchup. Simmons still heard a healthy dose of jeers and boos during his time on the bench, but this was quieted by Brooklyn’s victory and the Sixers’ poor performance.

With Simmons back on the court and struggling to start the year, it is fair to expect there to be an increased intensity from the crowd. The former Defensive Player of the Year candidate has already seen his fair share of criticism online of late. There is sure to be plenty more buildup as this matchup continues to inch closer but the Sixers have back-to-back matchups on Friday and Saturday before the Nets come to town.

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