Shaquille O’Neal Decries Ben Simmons's Trade Request: 'You're Not Great'
It is safe to say 15-time NBA All-Star Shaquille O'Neal does not have much respect for 76ers guard and forward Ben Simmons.
Simmons is expected to skip Philadelphia's training camp if he is still on the roster. O'Neal didn't hold back while sharing his thoughts on The Big Podcast with Shaq on Thursday, saying Simmons is simply "not that good."
"I have g-14 classification to say what I am about to say and so does Charles Barkley: Ben Simmons you’re not that good," O'Neal said. "And then, in this league, do you want to be good or do you want to be great? You’re not great. But if you want to get to that next level, you have to be great. And to be great, you have to work on your game."
O'Neal further criticized Simmons, saying that instead of posting about his lifestyle on Instagram, he needs to be focused on playing hard.
"Don’t be putting pictures on your Instagram of your Ferrari or what actress you’re hanging around with," O'Neal said. "When you play for a town like Philadelphia, Boston, L.A., Miami—a hard-working town—they don’t give a s--- about none of that. They want you to come, work hard and play hard."
On Aug. 31, Simmons told the 76ers that he no longer wanted to remain with the franchise. Simmons, who has four years and $147 million remaining on his contract, took a lot of heat for his performance in the Hawks' series where he averaged 9.9 points, attempted 14 shots in the final three games and three fourth-quarter field goal attempts in the series.
"I was at that Game 6 when that man didn’t even look at the basket," O' Neal said on his podcast. "And I know, as a player, the first thing I do is I look in a player’s eyes. That man was out there terrified. Not terrified of playing, but terrified of being fouled and missing free throws. Forget all that.”
Barkley, who once played for the Sixers and demanded a trade where he was sent to the Suns in 1992, shared similar sentiments about Simmons.
"I’m disappointed in Ben Simmons,” Barkley said. “When you give somebody $200 million to dribble a stupid basketball and the only thing you ask him is be better as a player, and their first response is, ‘I don’t want to play here anymore,’ that disappoints me as a player, it disappoints me as a fan. They’re not saying, ‘Hey, come over here and cut my grass.’ They’re saying, ‘Ben, we need you to learn how to shoot the basketball.'"
While Simmons wants out of Philadelphia, the team hopes their All-Star player will report to training camp on Sept. 28 and will remain with the organization.