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Ben Simmons act labelled 'disgusting' by Stephen A. Smith in explosive rant

The ESPN analyst has called out the Aussie basketballer for focusing on pay not success.

Ben Simmons pictured left and Stephen A. Smith pictured right
Stephen A. Smith has launched a scathing attack on Ben Simmons, saying he is only worried about what he is getting paid and not on what he is producing on the basketball court. Image: Getty

NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith has unleashed a ferocious attack on injured basketball star Ben Simmons, calling out the Aussie for his lack of focus and commitment. Simmons has not played since early November after suffering a nerve impingement in his back and is targeting a return to action in the new year.

The Aussie also missed all of the 2021-22 campaign and only managed 42 games for the Nets last season. When asked if he believes Simmons can live up to the hype upon his return from injury, the media personality said he was done holding his breath for the Aussie to fulfil his potential.

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"I am completely disgusted with him. I am completely disgusted with Ben Simmons and I think we all should be," Smith said. "I don't care at this point that he's injured and the reason why is too much time went by when you were not injured when you were not playing. But you certainly made sure that your cheque was in your bank account every single month."

Smith was referring to Simmons' stint off the court in the 2021-22 season with the 76ers when the Aussie was struggling with his mental health. The 76ers had initially withheld around $20 million of Simmons' salary, arguing he was in breach of his contract by choosing to sit out. However, Simmons and the National Basketball Players Association filed a grievance with the club and they eventually settled with the Sixers for an undisclosed amount.

“We understand that mental health is a huge issue, it’s serious and not something to be diminished or maligned in any way," Smith continued. "But you know something, you think about your money. Every time you turned around he thought about his money.”

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 25: Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on January 25, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
In the explosive rant Stephen A. Smith took aim at Simmons' mentality. Image: Getty (Tim Nwachukwu via Getty Images)

Stephen A. Smith says Simmons' lack of commitment should not be condoned

In the explosive rant, Smith then took aim at Simmons' shooting ability and mentality. "Even with the inability to shoot shots from the perimeter, he was still considered an elite player in this game and somehow, some way he let the noise get to him in a way that prevented him from playing the game," he said.

"Now that we’ve transitioned to this point, where he’s legitimately injured with his back... we're not delegitimising the injury," Smith said. "What we're saying is we don't care because if it was not that injury it'd be something else because over the last two to three years what you’ve shown us is an unwillingness to have a passion to play the game of basketball.

"I don’t think the United States should accept it, I don’t think Australia should accept it, I don’t think any place on the planet that loves the game of basketball should co-sign and condone Ben Simmons’ lack of commitment to the game of basketball. Enough is enough. It’s unacceptable."

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