Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t played in an NBA game since the spring of 2011, but that didn’t stop him from dunking all over a current player. On Thursday evening, Shaq threw down on 76ers star Ben Simmons, who is yet to play this season in the hopes that Philadelphia will eventually tire of his temper tantrum and trade him elsewhere.
“I don’t respect him. I would get rid of him,” O’Neal said of Simmons during a TNT broadcast last night.
Shaq just destroyed Ben Simmons after talking about Embiid’s dominance. pic.twitter.com/O1AfZzApys
— Did The Sixers Win? (@DidTheSixersWin) January 28, 2022
The subject of Simmons arose after Shaq and his TNT cohosts began discussing Simmons’ teammate, Joel Embiid. Unlike Simmons, Embiid has handled criticism from O’Neal and other members of the media, he’s accepted it and flourished as a result.
“The difference between [Embiid] and his soft partner [Simmons] is, he can take criticism without being a crybaby and he still wants to play,” said O’Neal.
Simmons has stayed away from the court since last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals, when he was slammed for his poor performance. Even coach Doc Rivers questioned at the time whether the team could win with Simmons, and Simmons has been throwing himself a pity party ever since.
Shaq continued to draw a contrast between Simmons and Embiid, an MVP candidate.
“Me and Charles (Barkley), we’ve been on [Embiid] and we stay on him. 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.”
The Diesel wasn’t done: “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.”
It would be interesting to hear Simmons’ response, but that’s unlikely. He showed in last year’s playoffs that he’d rather not take a shot.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF