Ben Simmons has no tolerance for unfair working conditions, especially when it involves gender inequality. The Philadelphia 76ers All-Star took a minute after the team’s morning shootaround on Saturday to condemn the way the NCAA has been handling the women’s tournament.
The NCAA apologized after Sedona Prince’s video went viral for showing the disparity in the men’s and women’s weight rooms. There were also accusations of better food for the men, more sophisticated COVID-19 testing, and gender-specific marketing and logos. Simmons held no punches, blasting the NCAA and holding them accountable for everything.
“I don’t have any respect for the NCAA at all,” Simmons told reporters. “What they doing is wrong. I’ve seen the women’s stuff at the gym, so that’s obviously not fair. They have so much money that they can’t set up a weight room the same, be equal with that, so that’s bulls***. There’s no excuse for that.
“They have no excuse. They have too much money to not to be able to do that and take care of the women’s side so on that side the NCAA has been bulls*** about that. I felt like it’s disrespectful, to those girls who are working just as hard as the guys and having the same opportunity.”
— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) March 20, 2021
ALL the latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!
Doubling Down on Defensive Player of Year
Simmons made headlines a few weeks ago when the Sixers point guard declared himself NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Head coach Doc Rivers quickly doubled down on those comments by calling Simmons a “lock” for the honor.
https://t.co/wWGNmWnCY9’s updated defensive player ladder:
1) Ben Simmons
2) Rudy Gobert
3) Myles Turner
4) LeBron James
5) Draymond Green
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 16, 2021
On Saturday, Simmons re-stated his own case for the award while explaining why he was a more dynamic defender than two-time winner Rudy Gobert (2018, 2019) of the Utah Jazz.
“I think I am,” Simmons said about being DPOY. “No disrespect to Rudy at all. He’s a great shot blocker, defender … but he’s not guarding one through five. He’s guarding fives and probably big fours. He’s a great defender but I don’t think he’s guarding one through fives. You can’t tell him to go guard Kawhi [Leoanrd] or guard [Chris] Paul or guard a point guard. He’s not doing that on a daily basis.”
Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid put a combined 13 buckets on Rudy Gobert’s head on 54% shooting.
Embiid got fouled 3x and dropped 20 points on Gobert – he was the defender for 32 of their 79 points.
Box scores, numbers, and graphs can’t save you in the trenches 💭 pic.twitter.com/kXKkvasClJ
— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) March 4, 2021
Team Chemistry Thriving During COVID-19 Pandemic
Rivers joked the other day about how weird it was not to have met any of his players’ wives or families. It’s been a new test the Sixers — and every NBA team, of course — have had to overcome this year. The head coach didn’t feel like it hurt the team chemistry, but it definitely provided a certain awkward challenge.
“I was thinking we have not met each other’s families, think about that, we don’t know each other’s families,” Rivers said. “I literally can’t meet a player’s wife, it’s nuts. And I get it and I think it’s good because we’re trying to get through this season.”
Truly incredible new pregame ritual here. Can’t overstate how great it is seeing the squad have so much fun.
— Josh Reynolds (@JoshReynolds24) February 26, 2021
But Simmons thinks the COVID-19 pandemic may have actually improved team chemistry. He has noticed guys hanging out more off the court and joking around at practice. Anything to take their minds off their six-foot-distanced reality.
“This year, apart from other years I’ve been a part of, this year has definitely been a lot better in terms of off the court,” Simmons said. “Guys are actually hanging out, talking, and things like that so it’s more of a natural kind of chemistry that everybody has on this team has so that’s going to translate to the court obviously.
“Guys are hopefully able to talk to each other, and that just helps on the court when you have to say something to somebody. Nobody takes it personally, you just move on and get better.”
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) February 7, 2021