'Shame on you': Joel Embiid lashes out over ugly Ben Simmons claim

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Joel Embiid has defended Ben Simmons amid an ugly off-season.
Joel Embiid took to Twitter to hose down rumours of a feud between himself and Philadelphia 76ers teammate Ben Simmons, amid a turbulent off-season for the team. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid has publicly denounced rumours of a rift between himself and teammate Ben Simmons, after the Australian star vowed not to show up for the team's training camp.

Trade rumours have been swirling around Simmons ever since his disastrous series against the Atlanta Hawks in the eastern conference semi-finals last season.

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Both Embiid and 76ers coach Doc Rivers appeared to criticise Simmons for his reluctance to shoot in the aftermath of the series-ending game six loss to the Hawks, but Embiid has now taken to Twitter to dispel any talk of a rift between the pair.

Just a day after Simmons vowed he would not report to training camp, Embiid hit back at the rumours their relationship had disintegrated.

In a series of tweets, Embiid said he had always enjoyed playing with Simmons, and that the firmer number one draft pick's statistics reflected the quality of player he is.

"Stop using my name to push people’s agendas," Embiid wrote, linking to an article discussing their reported feud. 

"I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. Stats don’t lie. 

"He’s an amazing player and we all didn’t get the job done. It’s on me personally. 

"I hope everyone is back cuz we know we’re good enough to win."

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Embiid cautioned fans against reading too much into rumours of a rift, saying 76ers fans shouldn't believe everything they hear, before relating that back to his own experiences with the team.

The 76ers are well known for having one of the most vocal fanbases in the NBA, with Embiid pointedly suggesting that it wouldn't hurt fans to show a little more love to their stars.

"From my own experience, y’all have no idea how much this media makes up stuff for followers and shame on you for believing them," he said.

Joel Embiid defends Ben Simmons amid 76ers trade rumours

Embiid made himself into an MVP candidate with the 76ers, but things didn't look that way initially. 

He missed his first two professional seasons due to injuries, then when he returned during the 2016-17 NBA season, Embiid's playing time was limited to keep him healthy.

After missing two years and only playing sparingly in his third season, Embiid heard it from 76ers fans. Embiid said he continued to hear boos as recently as two years ago.

"I haven’t forgotten but 2 years ago, I got booed, people in Philly wanted me to be traded. I even shushed them," he said. 

"Only the real ones didn’t but I just put the work in that offseason to be better cuz I knew I wasn’t playing up to my potential. 

"Philly fans, y’all also gotta be better."

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Embiid has never been shy to confront those aspects of the game and the Philadelphia fans, but in a final tweet, he acknowledged that not every player responds to those challenges in the same way.

"For clarity, I love the criticism, I love when I’m told I can’t do something. It makes me work harder to prove everyone wrong but not everyone is built like that," he said.

Without context, that comment could be interpreted as Embiid once again calling out Simmons for refusing to push himself to the next level. Obviously, that wasn't the intention here. 

It wouldn't make sense for Embiid to say nice things about Simmons and then immediately take a swipe at him.

It's unclear whether Embiid's comments will convince Simmons to stick around. Simmons' trade value may be at an all-time low following the Hawks series, but he's still a tremendous player.

Trading Simmons might seem like the right decision considering every that has happened in the past few months, but it's tough to argue a deal would make the 76ers a better team.

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