Nets’ Ben Simmons Hits Back At Shaq’s Criticisms: ‘You’re Not Helping’

Nets guard Ben Simmons has been staying relevant through headlines rather than playing in the NBA for the past year and a half.

Citing back issues and mental health, Simmons has been sidelined — some would say willingly — and bounced from the Philadelphia 76ers to Brooklyn after the former had enough of the Simmons saga.

One NBA legend that has criticized the 26-year-old for seemingly dodging a return to the court since his disastrous 2020-21 post-season series against the Atlanta Hawks is former Lakers big man Shaquille O’Neal.


O’Neal has been vocal about his frustration with Simmons and the three-time All-Star’s “betrayal” of the Sixers.

“The difference between [Joel Embiid] and his soft partner [Simmons] is, he can take criticism without being a crybaby and he still wants to play,” O’Neal previously commented on Simmons.

“Me and Charles (Barkley), we’ve been on [Embiid] and we stay on him,” Shaq also noted on TNT’s Inside the NBA. “We told him to his face what he needs to do,” added O’Neal.

“He didn’t cry, he didn’t say, ‘I want to get traded,’ he didn’t complain about mistreatment. And that’s the difference. That’s why I like and respect him. The other guy (Simmons), I don’t respect him.”

Simmons addressed Shaq’s critiques on a recent episode of JJ Reddick’s The Old Man and The Three podcast, where Simmons questioned O’Neal’s messaging after Diesel said he wanted to help inspire him to return to action.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The new Net also expounded on his personal struggles.

“People go through it… Doesn’t matter how much money you got, how famous you are, like it’s real, people go through everyday struggles,” Simmons told Reddick. “I think it’s kinda ignorant, like Shaq and Chuck [Barkley] sometimes what they’re saying. ‘Cause they have a platform to kind of like protect us and, you know, do good. Um, obviously they’re supposed to criticize us, you know, we’re basketball players.

“But when it comes to personal stuff there’s a level of respect they should have. Even Shaq, like, when I was dealing with everything going on, I actually messaged him and he put it out. And I was like, alright.”

(Photo by Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)

Simmons added, “I was in such a bad place where I was like, f—, I’m trying to get here and you guys are, like, throwing all these other things at me to where you’re not helping. And that’s all I wanted, was help.”

He also accused Shaq of betraying a tacit code of brotherhood, given both guys are former LSU Tigers.

Shaq and Charles Barkley have maintained that their criticisms were meant to push Simmons into getting back to an All-Star mentality.

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

“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.”

Is Simmons right? Or does Shaq have a point?

Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila

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