Shaquille O'Neal Slams Ben Simmons While Praising 76ers' Joel EmbiidJanuary 28, 2022
Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid was named an All-Star starter on Thursday night, and TNT analyst and Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal took a swipe at his teammate, Ben Simmons, while praising the big man.
"The difference between [Embiid] and his soft partner is he can take criticism without being a crybaby, and he still wants to play," O'Neal said on Inside The NBA.
O'Neal went on to add that one of the reasons he respects Embiid is that former players like himself and Charles Barkley have been tough on him in the past and he's continued to improve. Meanwhile, Simmons has yet to play this season for the Sixers and has requested a trade after facing criticism in the offseason.
After the Sixers lost to the Atlanta Hawks during the Eastern Conference Semifinals last year—a series in which Simmons attempted only three fourth-quarter shots across seven games—Sixers head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that he wasn't sure whether Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team.
"I don't know that question or the answer to that right now," he said. "I don't know the answer to that."
According to reports, Simmons felt as though Rivers threw him under the bus. How much of a factor that has played in this season's holdout is unknown. In October, he told the team "that he wasn't mentally ready to play to his expectations and needed time to step away," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
But O'Neal clearly doesn't respect the approach Simmons has taken.