The Philadelphia Sixers have been in the news a lot this past week. First, the Rich Paul/Nerlens Noel drama (more on that later) and now the latest Ben Simmons bomb. The parties involved have reached their end. According to various sources connected to Simmons, the oversized point guard has cut off all communication with the Sixers front office. His Los Angeles meeting included the top brass of the Sixers front office including president Daryl Morey, owner Josh Harris, general manager Elton Brand, and head coach Doc Rivers. It was there Ben Simmons made his grievances known and final. No doubt about it, Ben Simmons wants out of Philadelphia. The star also made it known that he plans to skip out on training camp to force the Sixers’ hand.
The sudden news sent shockwaves across social media last night as “Philly,” “Ben Simmons,” and “Sixers” became trending topics on sports Twitter. Essentially, the Philadelphia Sixers’ dirty laundry was being aired out. For the next few hours after the news broke, people who have not been infused with Philly’s sports culture decided to give their input. In all the shuffle, many claims about the Sixers front office and inner workings have become infused with lies.
To the outside world and casuals online, the Sixers have done nothing to support their once cornerstone franchise player. That couldn’t be so far from the truth. To other teams, Philadelphia sports fans are seen as some of the most toxic fanbases you can ever encounter (I mean, we did throw snowballs at Santa for god sake.) In all, we are just misunderstood. Philadelphia is a city where you must be mentally tough to make it here. What the outsider may see as toxic, Philly fans see it as passion. We bleed and sweat with our players and hold them accountable. Some of our greatest players like Allen Iverson, Wilt Chamberlin, Charles Barkley, Randall Cunningham, DeSean Jackson, and Brian Westbrook all knew what it took to make it in Philadelphia. We don’t baby nor cuddle our players. It’s that kind of tough love that you never get from other cities. It’s why Philadelphia was ranked number 2 on Forbes 2020 America’s Best Sports Cities list. Why I’m telling you all this? To set the record straight on most of the claims made against the Sixers, our fan base, and overall, the city of Philadelphia.
When Ben Simmons was first drafted back in 2016, the city of Philadelphia embraced the “Fresh Prince” and all his woes. Despite sitting out his first NBA season, Ben Simmons won Rookie of the Year in 2018. Since that time, Simmons has continued to be unstoppable attacking the basket and a force on the defensive end. Despite all his showstopping abilities, Ben Simmons has continued to lack in the shooting department. Everyone in Philadelphia could see it being a problem later on but stuck by their star. Over his career, Ben Simmons averaged a 56.0% FG percentage, nearing a triple-double each time he stepped on the court. As Ben Simmons’ value began to rise, it also came with a huge spotlight in a very large sports market.
To counteract that, the Sixers brought in various physical and mental coaches to improve his mindset and fix his jumper. In the days of former head coach Brett Brown, the coaching staff made it a priority to have Ben Simmons at least attempt jumpshots. It was something the whole Sixers fanbase was looking for. It was the appeal of a city waiting for their star to come into his own. While Ben worked out his issues, Philly fans did damage control on social media platforms. We pushed back against the “bust” claims and died on the hill that was “The Process” Era.
Tension began to rise right before the beginning of the 2020 NBA season. After failing to improve his shooting, Ben Simmons was involved in a highly publicized trade brought on by newly crowned President of Sixers Basketball Operations Daryl Morey. After getting rid of the worst contract in NBA history with center Al Horford and bringing in key role players, Daryl Morey has successfully won the hearts of Sixers fans. Morey saw the writing on the wall and had hoped to offload Simmons for James Harden very early in the season. A nice piece to offset the double teams center Joel Embiid was seeing throughout the season. Eventually, trade talks broke down and Harden went to Brooklyn. Despite losing out on a future HOF scorer like James Harden, Philly still believed in Ben Simmons and his abilities.
Fast forward to the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, people will say the fans gave up on him first but it’s the other way around. In Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks, down only two, Ben Simmons creates a pass instead of flat-out dunking over Trae Young. From there, things just took a turn for the worst.
While the Sixers went to work on trading for the 3-time All-Star, Ben Simmons purchased a home in the Los Angeles area, foreshadowing his desire to live the socialite life among the Kardashians. Daryl Morey, the genius trade maker that he is, but couldn’t find a trade enough to let him go. As we head into the 2022 NBA season and training camp, the Sixers are trying to put out their numerous fires within their organization.
Rich Paul, the league’s biggest agent, is looking to exact revenge on the Philadelphia Sixers. In related news, former Sixers center Nerlens Noel is suing Rich Paul and his firm, Klutch Sports, over $58 million in lost wages. In the details, Noel says Paul failed to secure a long-term contract with various teams who were interested in him during his 2017 NBA season. Philadelphia was one of a few teams interested in signing Noel back before they went with Al Horford. Many sources are saying a former Sixers head coach (Brett Brown is the most likely suspect) was the one who broke the news to Noel, which could be the reason why Rich Paul is not a fan of Philly right now.
Shortly after news of Ben Simmons came to light, Rich Paul announced he wants to remove his other client, Tyrese Maxey, out of Philadelphia as well. Local Philadelphia-based organizations were told to cancel all community-based events lined up for the young point guard as Paul tries to package both Simmons and Maxey. Tyrese Maxey was drafted by the Sixers’ 21st overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. Many NBA experts called him the steal of the draft for his explosiveness and ability to create his shots. Since arriving in Philadelphia, Maxey has been nothing short of amazing on and off the court. Maxey last season averaged 8.0 ppg, 46.2% FG, 2.0 apg, and 87% from the free-throw line. In his playoff debut, Maxey helped the Sixers by providing great scoring and raw talent off the bench. He has embraced the city of Philadelphia and has been shown love right back. Now heading into his second year, many see Tyrese Maxey taking over the starting point guard role for the Sixers. On Twitter, many consider Rich Paul using a young star’s career as a revenge tactic distasteful. Philly fans hope Maxey will drop Rich Paul and consider other options as he continues to grow in Philadelphia.
It seems this Shakesheapran play is destined to play out right up to the beginning of training camp. The Philadelphia Sixers are coming off the number 1 seed in the East last year and a second-round Game 7 loss. With most of last year’s team returning for the upcoming season, the Sixers show no sign of falling back into rebuild mode over one player who can’t shoot. The writing was always on the wall for Ben Simmons. He’s a socialite playing the role of an NBA player. Guiding by his height alone, Simmons is part of a larger culture of incoming players falling for the glam the NBA can give them. Gone are the days of real work ethic mindsets like LeBron James or Kobe. After 4 years, it’s time to close the curtains and move on.office, including