The saga surrounding Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers doesn’t seem to be getting solved anytime soon. Following a miserable performance in the NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. Afterward, head coach Doc Rivers was asked if the Sixers could win a championship with Simmons as their point guard, to which he told reporters “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Since then, it’s felt like the writing has been on the wall. The Sixers tried to find offers for Simmons but couldn’t. Simmons said he wouldn’t report to camp and asked to be traded. Rivers pleaded his case that he actually wanted to win with Simmons. Even Joel Embiid tried to smooth things over for Simmons’ potential return. However, it seems pretty clear that Simmons wants to be a star someplace else and has little desire to return to Philly.
Former Philadelphia reporter Stephen A. Smith actually has a different opinion about what Simmons should do. Not only does Smith think Simmons should return to Philly, he thinks Simmons should feel a desire to return to the Sixers and finish what he started.
— mark meany (@markmeany) September 29, 2021
“You should feel compelled to make up to the fans of Philadelphia how you performed in the series against the Atlanta Hawks, rather than running away from Philadelphia,” said Smith. “You should want to run back to Philadelphia. And I’ll tell you why, Ben Simmons, why you should want to run back. Because, my brother, Ben Simmons, if you are watching, you are literally a jump shot away from being LeBron James 2.o.”
Smith might be a little bias but he also explained why he thinks Philadelphia is one of the best places to try to be a superstar.
“I couldn’t find three places in America better to be a star in than the city of Philadelphia, in terms of a fanbase that will come out and ride or die with you, so long as you that dude. A.I. (Allen Iverson) is a testament to that. A.I. never won a championship. When have you ever heard somebody talking about A.I. negatively when it comes to his heart?… What they loved about A.I. most was that he was a warrior. You knew he wasn’t scared of a damn soul. And he didn’t run from Philadelphia, he was like, let’s go.”
You could haggle with Stephen over the idea of Philly fans riding or dying with an athlete (although that reputation has been overblown) but the point remains that if you give them your all, you’ll get a lot in return (and free cheesesteaks for life).
It doesn’t seem very likely that Simmons is going to take this advice, especially if the Sixers are going to continue to focus (rightfully) on Embiid on offense. But there is something to be said for wanting to make good on your shortcomings or mistakes in a situation like this and, dare we say it, we kinda agree with what Smith is saying.