NBA on TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal didn’t hold any punches when talking about Ben Simmons.
Thursday night’s (Jan.28) taping Inside The NBA focused on the big reveal of the starters for the 2022 NBA All-Star game. The conversation between Ernie Johnson, Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith highlighted the players who have been balling out this season, specifically big man Joel Embiid, who is putting up MVP-like numbers.
While discussing the 76ers superstar center, Shaq decided to use his television time to eviscerate Embiid’s missing teammate, Ben Simmons. If you have been under a rock, Ben Simmons has not played a single time after his feelings got hurt after some comments his head coach Doc Rivers made following Simmons’ poor play during last year’s playoffs. Shaq called the 25-year-old hooper everything but his name, labeling him “soft and a “crybaby.”
“I stay on big guys because I care about them. I want them to play a certain way. I want them to play at a certain level. The difference between [Embiid] and his soft partner [Simmons] is, he can take criticism without being a crybaby, and he still wants to play,” O’neal led his rant off with.
“Me and Charles, we’ve been on [Embiid], and we stay on him. We told him to his face what he needs to do. He didn’t cry, he didn’t say, ‘I want to get traded,’ he didn’t complain about mistreatment. And that’s the difference. That’s why I like and respect him. The other guy, I don’t respect him,” he continued.
Wait, there’s more.
I’ve been thinking about it – you’re missing a whole season because they asked your coach a question, ‘Can we win without you?’, and your coach gave a funny answer? That should tell you. You need to get in the summertime and go work on your game.
You don’t think I haven’t been criticized by you guys, Stephen A.? You don’t think I haven’t been criticized by L.A. media, New York media? Great players get criticized. But the great players also step up to the criticism and perform. So this other guy, I don’t respect him. I would get rid of him.
This isn’t the first time Shaq has sounded off on Simmons. Following the 76ers Game 7 loss, O’Neal said, “if he [Simmons] was in my locker room, I would have knocked his ass out.”
The only person that didn’t get lit up during Inside The NBA was Kyrie Irving. Shaq also had some words for him back in September, saying he would have gone upstairs to management and told them to “get his [Irving’s] ass up outta here.”
You gotta love when Shaq keeps it all the way real, he might be a little out of line, but he’s absolutely right.
Photo: Michael Reaves / Getty