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Shaq: Ben Simmons DMed me mad about me calling him a soft crybaby

Shaquille O'Neal and 76ers guard Ben Simmons

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 16: NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal speaks with Ben Simmons #25 of the World Team prior to the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game during All-Star Friday Night as part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at the STAPLES Center on February 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

76ers guard Ben Simmons says he’s not playing due to mental-health issues.

Shaquille O’Neal called Simmons a “crybaby” and “soft” and said he didn’t respect Simmons.

According to Shaq, Simmons – who has not spoken publicly during this ordeal – then messaged him upset. Though he initially refused to reveal what Simmons said, Shaq eventually agreed with a characterization of Simmons’ DMs: “It’s not my fault and you don’t know what you’re talking about.”


Sports are supposed to test mental toughness. But there can be a fine line between facing psychological challenges within competition and legitimate mental-health issues.

Whatever nuanced discussion there is to be had here, Shaq bulldozes past it with his old-school mentality and eagerness to make content out of criticizing Simmons.

Beyond a feud specifically with Shaq, it’s hard to believe Simmons watching and responding to public criticism helps him in any way. It doesn’t pacify the people like Shaq who believe he’s a wimp. And is it good for Simmons’ mental health?