It’s been a game nine months in the making, with the Brooklyn Nets and former Sixer Ben Simmons playing at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. Sixers fans have long craved the return of their former No. 1 pick, preparing their lungs for a night of booing. While the matchup didn’t look like what was originally expected, with Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey all sidelined with injuries, the Sixers still managed to pull out a 115-106 victory over their former teammate.
While some fans showed up as clown versions of him, Simmons did have some admirers courtside during warmups, where he signed autographs and took selfies.
Essentially no reaction to Ben Simmons’ warmup here. Volume of people considerably lower than his first return when he didn’t play. Some people dressed for the occasion, however pic.twitter.com/6hXLNDGpyA— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) November 22, 2022
Ben Simmons signing autographs and taking pictures. pic.twitter.com/duTvW85X4s— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) November 22, 2022
Ben Simmons literally climbed into the stands to sign autographs and take selfies with fans after his pregame workout. pic.twitter.com/gCfAlVWtpR— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) November 22, 2022
Once the game uniforms came on, the boos began to rain down, beginning at intros and continuing whenever Simmons touched the ball. It’s hard to distinguish how loud the boos were through video and the television, but the Sixers fans sure still made themselves heard.
Ben Simmons introduced in Philly to heavy boos. pic.twitter.com/YCLiN9Mw5y— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) November 23, 2022
Another chorus of boos when Ben Simmons gets his first touch. pic.twitter.com/OkDasbuxAR— Erik Slater (@erikslater_) November 23, 2022
Despite that, Simmons seemed to be confident to start, even making a pair of free throws and tossing a classic MJ shrug after doing so.
However, the real triumph – nay, the pinnacle, the crown jewel of the game - was earning free nuggets on Ben Simmons when he missed a pair of free throws in the third, as part of the Sixers Bricken for Chicken promotion. It feels like vindication for Sixers fans everywhere.
Ben Simmons: BRICKEN FOR CHICKEN pic.twitter.com/Q9ILWF9y59— shamus (@shamus_clancy) November 23, 2022
Serving free chicken nuggets to all of Philly because Ben Simmons still can’t shoot pic.twitter.com/1HvZStfQ8P— Jeff McDevitt (@JeffMcDev) November 23, 2022
Overall, it was not quite the Embiid-Simmons showdown game Sixers fans were expecting, but when have the Sixers ever given fans what they expect?