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Nets’ Ben Simmons shares his side of 76ers story, says infamous pass play vs. Hawks ‘looks terrible’

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AT interview for JJ Redick’s podcast “The Old Man and the Three” Ben Simmons said he wouldn’t want him to do anything differently during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers – even on what play.

“No, because I wouldn’t be here,” Simmons told his former teammate. “I don’t think you can say, ‘Yes, I’d like to go and kick the ball, because it’s been a whole game’ — like, come on. No, I think if I hadn’t gone through what I’ve been through the last year and a half, then I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

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Initially, Redick didn’t have to directly ask Simmons about the infamous passage Matisse Tiboule in Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks. After Simmons mentioned it, Redick said that “for some reason, everyone is talking about this play.” Simmons joked that it was a “hundred-point basket” and then explained the sequence from his point of view, just like he did after the game: the shot passed to Tibull.

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“I think, Okay, quick pass, he’s about to flush it out, not knowing there’s a lot of room,” Simmons said. “It happened so fast that you are just reading. And in the playoffs, most of the time you need to make the right decisions. And in that moment, I mean, bro, it happened and I thought: Okay, fuck, now we have to go play again.. That’s how I think. I didn’t understand how everyone posted. I am like, it was so big?”

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Redick acknowledged that Simmons is getting close to baseline and doesn’t necessarily know how open he is. He also told Simmons that it looked really bad on the video.

“Yes, I know,” Simmons said. “Damn, this looks terrible. When I look at it now I think: man i should have just fucked that shit. But that did not happen. And I was fine with it. I can live with it. I can deal with everyone trying to kill me over one play. Like, does everyone want to watch a movie with me? Like the whole arena? I can take it all apart if you like. But it’s not real.”

Simmons and Redick played together in Philadelphia from 2017 to 2019. On the podcast, they laughed that Simmons hired Redick via text message during the 2016–17 season, Redick’s final year with the Los Angeles Clippers. “You basically faked it,” Redick said. They fondly recalled the Sixers’ 16-game winning streak that ended the 2017-18 regular season when Simmons was the star of the show because Joel Embiid was on the sidelines. “For me, it’s basketball,” Simmons said. “We grew up in Australia and the way we play is fundamental – obviously not everyone is super athletic when you come to the States, everything is different – ​​but it’s the movement of the ball, cutting, passing, running. That’s what basketball is. .”

Those good times didn’t last long. Simmons, now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, requested a trade after losing to the Hawks and got into a public standoff with the Sixers when he told them he was not mentally ready to play. Redick asked if the Atlanta series had exacerbated the problems he already had.

“I think it was like I’m already facing a lot mentally just in life, like a lot of people,” Simmons said. “But it got to the point that after this series, I get… it’s like from people that you should get support or comfort from. And I didn’t get it either. So it was just a lot, it was an ordeal for me. And then in my mind, I just… it killed me. I was like, f**king, like I didn’t have the strength for anything. I was in a dark place. And it took me a long time. The first thing I did was really identify myself, like, okay, I gotta do it right. And it’s not physical. It’s mental.”

Simmons said admitting this was “a huge step for me”. Now he’s “in a great place,” he said. “And I feel comfortable talking about it now. But those were dark days for me. And especially, you know, everything is fucking open. different, but everyone has their own battles. And I think it was hard for me, just knowing that I didn’t have that kind of support from my teammates or anyone else at the time.”

Redick said that while he loves Embiid and Doc Rivers, “Basically, they threw you under the bus after Game 7. It’s undeniable.”

“Of course,” Simmons said. “Of course. Yes”.

Regarding the fine for not playing, Simmons said, “It’s not about the money for me right now. I want peace and happiness. I want to be in a good place. cost me, that’s what it’ll cost. My peace is more precious than money.”

Late for training camp and then being kicked out of the gym by Rivers, Simmons said, “At least I tried to do the right thing. Like doing the right thing, whatever it is, the team, my teammates, whatever it is, whoever it is. But trying to do the right thing. And I just wasn’t in the right place to play. I was not. I just couldn’t do it. spoke to Doc before training. I said, “Doc, I’m not ready. Mentally, I’m not ready. Please just understand it.” I tried to let him know in advance. And he’s like, “Well, I’ll put you in anyway.” I’m like, “Okay.”

“He told me to come in,” Simmons continued. “I looked at him. It was a one minute workout. Like, “Ben, sit down.” First of all, nobody does it, you do it on purpose. And I felt that way too. Okay, it seems like everyone is just trying to fuck with me right now.. I’m going to get fined for not lifting weights, but physically I’m one of the strongest guys on the fucking team. So I’m like this Now I’m fined for the little things. It was just an accumulation — obviously I didn’t handle the situation right, but neither did the team. And the people who had that power.”

Redick asked Simmons if he had irreconcilable differences with the organization.

“Yes and no,” Simmons said. “I tried, personally for myself, to get to a good place to get back on the floor again. So it was never even – getting on the floor was my priority. to do this. And I’ve been in such a bad place where I’ve been like, fuck i’m trying to get here and you guys are throwing all these other things at me where you’re not helping. And that’s all I wanted, that’s help. I didn’t feel like I got it from the coaches, the teammates – I won’t speak from all the teammates, because there are some great guys on this team who have given a helping hand, who are still my friends to this day. But I didn’t feel like I got it. And it was just a tough place for me.”

In the report from Athletic that most of these teammates wanted to fly to Los Angeles and convince him to return to the team In late September, Simmons said, “Now you want to fly out when training camp is about to start? I have been in Los Angeles for several months. Nobody came. There was no one there. publicize that you’re leaving? This is bullshit. Nobody got on that plane. Okay, dude. It’s the damn truth. There were guys in Los Angeles who didn’t tell me anything.”

Despite all this, Simmons said that “for the most part” he had “incredible” time in Philadelphia. He also said that in the TV series “Hawks” he was out of his mind.

“It’s been a buildup over time,” Simmons said. “I sort of declined. I just pushed it aside and didn’t pay attention to my mental health. I feel this way, why do I feel this way? Just different things. And once I was able to really get to grips with it, I thought, oh shit, I need to — I want to get myself in order, I want to get to a good mental state, to be able to do my job and learn to deal with things right, with that I face and not go down in a downward spiral. Because there are a lot of people who go through this and never work it out.”

Simmons did not play in an NBA game after that streak and underwent back surgery in May. On the podcast, he said he “can’t wait” to get on the court. He also suggested that Redick come out of retirement and sign with the Nets.


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