NBA on TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t held back on how he feels about 76ers guard Ben Simmons.
Days after saying that Simmons is acting like a baby by sitting out this season, O’Neal revealed on The Big Podcast with himself, Spice Adams, and Nischelle Turner that Simmons wasn’t too thrilled with his comments.
“He got to step up and knock them down. They all said that. I didn’t go ‘I got 38. I missed 12 free throws. Trade me, get rid of me.’ You’re acting like a baby,” O’Neal said. “So he kind of got on my DM’s and said some things.”
While O’Neal wouldn’t reveal what Simmons said, he did offer bits of why he called Simmons out.
“I can’t do that. He said some things. No, I can’t do that…All I said was you’re leaving your man out there. You need to play,” O’Neal said. “That’s all I said. He said some things, but I’m not gonna elaborate what he said because that’s not cool. He was mad…Yeah, he’s probably mad because I’m his LSU brother and I am yes. I’m still his brother…I’m not gonna tell you what he said, but I probably understand why he mad.”
Without Simmons, who is trying to force a trade out of Philadelphia, the 76ers are 31-20 this season, third in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is 15-4 in its last 19 games, with star center Joel Embiid a frontrunner for the NBA MVP award.
Embiid is averaging a career-high 29.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG and 4.4 APG through 39 games. The chemistry between Embiid and Simmons has always been called into question, with many wondering which is Batman, and which is Robin.
For O’Neal, it’s like jumping into the DeLorean and going back 20 years. It was there — in Los Angeles, where an in his prime O’Neal joined forces with a young Kobe Bryant. While the two won three championships together (2000-02), the duo split after the 2004 season after the Lakers refused to pay O’Neal top dollar.
O’Neal and Bryant often battled over who was the No. 1 guy, a debate O’Neal now believes was silly. O’Neal said he doesn’t want to see the same thing happen with Philadelphia’s star duo.
“I realized this after I left LA. I don’t believe I’m in my whole career fighting for a useless title. ‘Shaq you the man. Shaq, this your team, but in reality what the (expletive) does all that mean? It don’t mean nothing. It don’t mean nothing,” O’Neal said. “I could have won eight or nine championships with that man. Instead, we both argue about who team it is and I talked to them.
“I had to go speak to Philadelphia and I told them I said don’t fight over useless titles. Fight for each other because when it’s all said and done, you don’t want to be back, saying to yourself I wish I could. So much Elon Bezos out here for everybody know what that mean, right? I can’t take it all so I’m gonna get my piece.
“Spice you get your piece, Nischelle, just take it, but don’t give it away by just ‘It’s Joel’s fault. I don’t wanna play. It’s coaches fault. I don’t want to play.’ Listen, he went to LSU, I care about him. I want to see him succeed. I want to see all these young brothers succeed.”
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