For the first time since his post-Game 7 presser against the Atlanta Hawks last season, former Philadelphia 76er and new Brooklyn Net Ben Simmons spoke to reporters today.
Immediately following that loss, of course, Simmons demanded a trade out of Philadelphia. Then, he and his agency commenced with doing their talking through a slew of sourced leaks throughout the media over the ensuing months. But Tuesday was the public’s first opportunity to hear from Simmons directly after all this unpleasantness between he and the Sixers transpired.
Here is some of what he had to say.
Ben Simmons on whether he would’ve returned to Philly: “It was about making sure mentally I was right. It wasn’t about the coaches or fans…”— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) February 15, 2022
Simmons on people who are skeptical of his mental health claims: "They should be happy I'm smiling, honestly. I've had some dark times over these last six months, and I'm just happy to be with this team"— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 15, 2022
There has been a constant back-and-forth online about Philadelphia fans and mental health, and how it all relates to Simmons. I am not interested in wading into that here. Moving on!
Simmons: "It wasn't a personal thing toward any player, or coach, or owners or anything like that"— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 15, 2022
Simmons on what happened that led to his exit in Philly: "If I knew, I would tell you everything. It's just a lot of things internally that had happened over time, and it just got to a place where I don't think it was good for me mentally"— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 15, 2022
Simmons’ reserved nature in discussing what in the world actually happened in Philadelphia shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to us all. Since he’s been in the league, Simmons has been famously reserved in the media, holding most fans, teammates and media members at an arms’ length.
To think he would now open up with what precisely led to his discontent in Philly would be naive, so his non-answers here were expected by those paying close attention.
And, finally (in addition to confirming that he’s had no contact with Joel Embiid since the trade):
Ben Simmons on if he'll be physically/mentally ready for March 10 vs. Philadelphia: "I hope so."— Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) February 15, 2022
So do we, Ben. So do we.