Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers

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One of the most interesting narratives of the 2021-22 NBA season belongs to Ben Simmons.

Simmons has appeared to run off on the plug twice since he stopped playing for the Philadephia 76ers last season and didn’t step on the court once for the Brooklyn Nets this year. It was rumored that he’d be on the hardwood come Game 4 of the Nets series against the Boston Celtics, but with the team down 3-0 and facing a sweep, Simmons’ back was conveniently sore again.

Now, NBA greats are at the baller’s neck criticizing him for not being there for his teammates. TNT’s NBA crew sounded off on Simmons, with Shaq taking the lead and calling his actions a “punk move.”

“Now that they lost (Game 3), ‘my back hurts.’ Well, if your back hurts, get some Icy Hot. I’ll send it to you. We call this a punk move. Listen, if you’re not ready to play, you would get more respect from the people if you just say ‘I’m not ready to play.’ And don’t say nothing else. Don’t be shooting and saying ‘I’m coming back; I’m going to do this.’ That was a punk move,” said Shaq.  “We all know what that is. Ballers know what that is. Everybody else can be (saying) ‘oh, he’s not ready,’ but us, guys that live this life, we know exactly what you’re doing, buddy.”

Shaq’s cohost Charles Barkley is never one to shy away from sharing his opinion, and like many fans, he questions Simmons’ desire to even play basketball anymore.

“Shaq is right,” Barkley added. “I don’t care about the fans… Let me tell you something, when the players don’t respect you, that’s a big deal. When the players says, ‘We can’t count on this dude.’ Ben is getting to the point now where his teammates are like, ‘Does this dude want to play basketball?’ It clearly happened in Philly and now it’s happening (in Brooklyn).”

According to ESPN, In a meeting with Brooklyn Nets leadership earlier this week, aside from physical complications, Simmons wants his mind to be right before he plays professional basketball again. The Nets have vowed to do everything in their power to help Simmons.