The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Ben Simmons first overall in 2016 with the hopes he would become Philadelphia’s point guard of the future. Further, there was some indication Simmons could blaze the trail for a new type of player: a long playmaker who could stifle an offense as well as he could initiate it.
The Sixers did not count on Simmons flaming out of a playoff series and following the disappointing play up by holding out and requesting a trade. But here we are.
And earlier this week, Simmons sat down with former Sixers teammate JJ Redick to discuss the end of his tenure in Philadelphia and new future with the Brooklyn Nets. The interview was Simmons’ first time opening up about what truly led to his decision to leave Philadelphia.
After the interview, opinions and takes poured in from every corner of the internet. And one such take came from player-turned-broadcaster Jalen Rose.
“A lot of people owe him an apology because there was a lot of name-calling when he didn’t play. Calling him weak, calling him soft, questioning what he said about his mental stability, which is a real thing, and you got to support someone when they’re honest and open enough to say that out loud and address that,” Rose said on Jalen & Jacoby on September 23.
But Rose didn’t completely let Simmons off scot-free. The former Chicago Bull made sure to sound off on Simmons’ role in how his time in Philadelphia came to an explosive end.
Jalen Rose Criticized Ben Simmons’ Actions During Holdout
At one point in his interview, Simmons questioned why he was being fined over not attending weight lifting sessions with the team. The fines came after Simmons’ relationship with the team was already cratering, if not completely fractured.
“Like I’m getting fined for not lifting weights, but physically I’m one of the strongest guys on the f****** team. So now I’m like they’re fining me for little things,” Simmons explained.
But Rose poured cold water on Simmons’ theories about the weight lifting.
“When he returns and don’t play, of course they’re going to fine you for not working out. It don’t matter if you’re the strongest person on the team. This is a lifestyle. This is every day just comes with the territory. And also, yes, they’re gonna ask you to practice if they deem you to be healthy and available to go,” Rose explained.
Rose’s point is a simple one: a player is required to lift weights, regardless of their size and existing strength level. Perhaps the Sixers worked out a special arrangement with Simmons before he decided to sit out, but that likely vanished after the holdout.
Ultimately, Rose took the middle approach by pinning the blame on both Simmons and the Sixers’ organization. It’s a road the Simmons himself echoed during his interview.
Simmons: ‘I Didn’t Handle Things the Right Way’
In messy divorces like this, it’s rarely all one side’s fault. Simmons feels aggrieved over his treatment after the Game Seven loss to Atlanta two years ago. And the team likely feels frustrated over Simmons’ apparent apathy and refusal to improve.
Both sides can be right, in this scenario. And with a little reflection, Simmons knows that’s the case.
“Obviously I didn’t handle things the right way,” Simmons said, “but the team didn’t either.”
The only hope is that both Philadelphia and Simmons took this opportunity to learn from their mistakes so as to not replicate them in the future.