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Charles Barkley targets Ben Simmons during rant on Jason Kelce’s pod

The former Sixer was asked about if the team would still be playing if they had chosen to keep Jimmy Butler.

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA Hall of Famer and Philadelphia 76ers’ 1984 first-round draft pick Charles Barkley recently made an appearance on New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce to discuss topics such as the NBA Finals and golfing with Michael Jordan.

But Jason decided to throw him a question “on behalf of Sixers fans”: would this Sixers team have made it to the NBA Finals if they had Jimmy Butler on the team still? Butler and the Miami Heat are currently battling the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals, now a few years removed from his arrival in South Beach from Philadelphia via a sign-and-trade in 2019.

That question, that Barkley never really answers, instead prompted a rant regarding a key factor in the Sixers’ trading Butler: Ben Simmons.

Barkley: “I’m so disappointed in the Ben Simmons situation because the Sixers had to choose between Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler and, obviously, they chose wrong. But what bothers me about the Ben Simmons situation is, as an organization, as a coaching staff, they just asked him to get better at basketball. And his response was ‘here’s the middle finger, I’m not playing here anymore.’ And I’m like ‘wait a minute, they’re paying you $40 million a year.’ ... As a player, your first response should never be ‘I’m never playing here again,’ and it makes the Jimmy Butler situation look even worse.”

Barkley emphasized that sentiment about Simmons simply being asked to get better, and instead walking away.

Barkley: “From the Ben Simmons standpoint, I’m like ‘yo man, they asked you to get better at basketball and your response is ‘screw you guys, I’m not playing here anymore’’. ... I’m so disappointed as a player, because, if your coach asks you to get better as a player, that’s his job!”

Travis chimed in to say he loves a challenge to get better at life or at his profession and that he “drools for coach [Andy] Reid to get on my ass about doing something to get better.”

Barkley continued, declaring that Simmons now may have “ruined his career.”

Barkley: “Now he’s got this psychological block where he’s scared to shoot the ball. He’s got another year at $40 million, so he’s got at least one more year to try to get it right. But if he plays like he did this year, where he’s afraid to shoot the ball and scared to shoot free throws, this might be his last year in the NBA.”

Is he breaking any new ground, especially to Sixers’ fans, with this rant? No.

But is it validating to have an NBA Hall of Famer echo the feelings and emotions fans at home have felt for years about the situation? A little bit!

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