‘Get Rid of Him’: Shaq Eviscerates Ben Simmons in Scathing Rant

Ben Simmons, Sixers

Getty Ben Simmons, Sixers

Shaquille O’Neal has had enough of Ben Simmons’ tired act. The Hall of Famer wouldn’t even use the disgruntled guard’s name during a scathing tirade prior to Thursday’s game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers.

O’Neal started his comments by showering praise on Joel Embiid – a guy he and TNT colleague Charles Barkley have challenged over the years – and his ability to take hard criticism. The All-Star center has elevated his game to new heights this season due to a serious commitment to conditioning. Embiid has been unstoppable as he seeks his first MVP award.

His dominance has been in stark contrast to the selfishness displayed by Simmons. And O’Neal – arguably the greatest center of all-time – put Embiid’s “soft partner” on blast during the TNT pre-game show. He doesn’t respect Simmons and believes the Sixers should get rid of him.

“He’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s dominating,” O’Neal said of Embiid. “We/I stay on big guys because I care about them. I want them to play a certain way. I want them to play at a certain level. The difference between him and his soft partner is he takes criticism without being a crybaby. And he still wants to play, because me and Charles [Barkley], we’ve been on him, we stay on him, we tell him to his face what he needs to do.

“He didn’t cry. He didn’t say I want to be traded. He didn’t complain about mistreatment and that’s the difference. That’s why I like and respect him. The other guy I don’t respect. I’ve been thinking about it. You’re missing a whole season because they asked your coach a question, can we win without you? And your coach gave a funny answer.

“That should tell you that you need to, in the summertime, work on your game. You don’t think I haven’t been criticized by you guys [on TNT] and Stephen A. [Smith]. You don’t think I haven’t been criticized by L.A. media, New York media – the great players get criticized but the great players also step up to the criticism and perform. So, this other guy I don’t respect him. I would get rid of him.”

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Embiid Named All-Star Game Starter

Embiid was named an Eastern Conference starter for the NBA All-Star Game on February 20 in Cleveland. It marked his fifth straight selection after being named a starter in each of the previous four seasons. He’ll become the first Sixers player to make five straight All-Star starts since Allen Iverson did it seven times from 2000-06.

Embiid ranks third in the league in scoring at a career-best 29 points per game. He’s also averaging 10.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 49.9% from the field and 38% from three-point range. The Sixers’ big man has connected on a league-leading 321 free throws, or 8.9 freebies per game.


Simmons Receives 2 All-Star Votes

Two NBA players voted for Simmons to make the All-Star team, according to official voting returns. The Sixers guard hasn’t appeared in a single game this season after requesting a trade and claiming mental health issues. Simmons was ruled out due to “personal reasons” once again on Thursday night.

Simmons received no votes from any members of the media, but he did garner 46,031 votes from fans. He finished 25th on the Eastern Conference guard list in weighted score.

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