'Kill your a**': Brutal truth emerges in Ben Simmons controversy

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·Sports Editor
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Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, pictured here in action for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in action for the Philadelphia 76ers. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

NBA great Allen Iverson has provided an insight into what it's like playing for the Philadelphia 76ers in light of the Ben Simmons situation.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers provided an update on Simmons on Thursday, confirming the much-maligned Aussie star is showing up "every day."

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Rivers added that Simmons' back is improving, and his return to the court will be based on his mental health.

A return to the court in a 76ers jersey looked dicey last week when Simmons was sent home from practice and suspended for a game after refusing to participate.

The Australian star has previously requested a trade out of Philly after fans turned on him following a disappointing display in the playoffs last season.

One man who knows how fickle the Sixers fans can be is Iverson, who spent 10 years in Philadelphia after being drafted No.1 in 1996.

According to Iverson, the relationship between Simmons and fans has gotten "out of hand".

“With Ben, I think the connection with the fans got out of hand, and that’s what he didn’t want to have to deal with coming back,” he said.

“My whole thing with our fans is, we’re with you if you’re with us, but when we feel like you don’t want to be with us? They’ll kill your a**.”

NBA legend Charles Barkley, who also played for the 76ers for eight seasons, expressed similar sentiments last week.

“There’s only two bonds in pro sports: the locker room and the fans,” Barkley said on TNT.

“He’s burned both of those bridges.

“I actually blame Ben Simmons a little bit because being in Philly since 1984, I think they would’ve given him a second chance.

“If he had come to training camp and busted his heart, even last year when he was scared to shoot and wasn’t making free throws, they were giving him some love and trying to encourage him.

“When he showed up at training camp and didn’t play and didn’t talk to his teammates, it’s over now.”

Allen Iverson, pictured here gesturing to fans while playing for the 76ers in 2003.
Allen Iverson gestures to fans while playing for the 76ers in 2003. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Ben Simmons back in the good books at 76ers?

However it looks like it might not be over after all.

Things seem to have improved dramatically since Simmons' suspension.

The Australian star met with the team last Friday and explained he wasn't mentally ready to play.

That meeting marked a turning point between Simmons and the organisation, as both Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris expressed their support for Simmons in the days following.

Rivers said it was a "productive day" and hoped the meeting was a start toward bringing Simmons back into the fold.

"It still doesn't mean things will work out perfect, or it could," Rivers said.

"I've always believed that. I've never wavered from that."

Simmons has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists over four seasons with Philadelphia, which drafted him No.1 in 2016 out of LSU.

However his defining moment as a Sixer came when he passed up a wide-open dunk against Atlanta in the second round of last year's playoffs that would have tied the game late in Game 7.

Simmons then took the blame for Philly's early post-season exit.

Rivers said he didn't want to predict when Simmons might rejoin the Sixers - if the guard returns at all.

"We're going to make sure Ben's with the right people and see where that goes," Rivers said.

"He is part of the team. We have certain rules, obviously. The other day, that didn't happen. But today was a good day."

with agencies

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