Fan's painful insult captures brutal Ben Simmons NBA reality

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Ben Simmons has been copping criticism from all angles, but an alligator-capturing Philadelphia fan might have summed up the city's attitude towards the Aussie star perfectly. Pictures: Getty Images/Instagram
Ben Simmons has been copping criticism from all angles, but an alligator-capturing Philadelphia fan might have summed up the city's attitude towards the Aussie star perfectly. Pictures: Getty Images/Instagram

Nobody would have expected an alligator-capturing Philadelphia man to neatly sum up Ben Simmons' standing within the city that drafted him to the NBA - but these are strange times for the Aussie star.

Simmons' popularity in Philly has nosedived ever since the former no.1 draft pick demanded a trade following the 76ers' collapse in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season.

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After entering the playoffs as the Eastern Conference top seed, Simmons and the Sixers were sent packing by the upstart Atlanta Hawks, losing game seven on the semi-finals on their home floor.

Coming into particular focus was Simmons' terrible free throw shooting, as well as his ongoing inability or refusal to take shots from further away from the rim.

By game seven, Simmons appeared so spooked by the prospect of being fouled and sent to the free throw line that, late in the fourth quarter, he passed out of what likely would have been an open dunk.

That one moment has evolved to encapsulate the entire Ben Simmons experience among 76ers fans.

It was no more evident than when the moment was referenced by Eugene Bozzi, a former Philadelphia resident who went viral last week after using a wheelie bin to capture a loose alligator in Florida.

When interviewed by CBS Philadelphia about the viral video, Bozzi quipped he didn't want to shy away from the moment, like a certain Sixers star.

“I just jumped into action and I said, you know what, I’m not going to be Ben Simmons. I’m going to get me this basket,” Bozzi said, proving fans are a long way from forgetting the game seven collapse.

The feud between Simmons and the team has only deepened as the NBA pre-season has begun, with Simmons making good on his threat to no-show the team's training camp.

The 25-year-old stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars for each practice and game he misses, with the stand-off likely to continue until the 76ers find a suitable trade.

Star teammate Joel Embiid 'disappointed' with Ben Simmons

After days and weeks of trying to convince Simmons to re-join the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of the upcoming season, Joel Embiid appears to have had enough.

Embiid's paint-dominant low-post style clashed with Simmons' own driving and slashing game, with the latter lack of shooting (or refusal to shoot) clogging space on the court for both players - prompting Simmons' camp to suggest their on-court pairing had 'run its course'.

The 76ers have cycled through a number of trades in a bid to find the correct balance of tertiary talent around the pair, with their 2019 trade for Jimmy Butler resulting in the 76ers falling short of the Eastern Conference finals on Kawhi Leonard's memorable buzzer-beater for Toronto.

Asked about the latest report about Simmons' attitude towards the pair, Embiid let his feelings known after weeks of attempting to convince Simmons to change his mind.

Ben Simmons' ongoing refusal to rejoin the Philadelphia 76ers has left teammate Joel Embiid 'disappointed', but hopeful the Aussie will change his mind. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons' ongoing refusal to rejoin the Philadelphia 76ers has left teammate Joel Embiid 'disappointed', but hopeful the Aussie will change his mind. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

I feel like over the years, our team has been built around (Simmons),” Embiid said.

“Our teams have always been built around his needs.

“Even going back to the reason we signed Al (Horford), we got rid of Jimmy, which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure he (Simmons) needed the ball in his hands and that’s the decision they made.

“The situation is disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives.

“Some guys rely on the team being successful to stay in the league and make money somehow. Because if you’re on a winning team, you’re always going to have a spot in the league, just because you’re on a winning team and you contributed.

“We are a better team with him, there’s no question about it. We still hope he changes his mind, but I kind of owe it to these guys to worry about what we have here.”

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