Shaquille O’Neal does not hold Ben Simmons in high regard.
The Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star is one of many media personalities to share a strong opinion on Simmons, who reportedly does not plan to attend Sixers training camp if he’s still on the team’s roster at that time.
Here’s what O’Neal had to say on The Big Podcast with Shaq:
“I have G-14 classification to say what I’m about to say, and so does Charles Barkley: Ben Simmons, you’re not that good. 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.
“Don’t be putting pictures on your Instagram of your Ferrari or what actress you’re hanging around with. 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.
“I was at that Game 6 when that man didn’t even look at the basket. 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.”
O’Neal certainly has unique insight into Simmons’ foul shooting problem last postseason, specifically the “Hack-a-Simmons” strategy of intentionally sending the Australian to the foul line.
For his career, O’Neal made 52.7 percent of his 9.3 free throw attempts per game during the regular season. He converted 50.4 percent of his 10.7 free throws per playoff contest. Simmons shot 34.2 percent across the Sixers’ two playoff rounds in 2021.
Barkley requested to be traded from the Sixers and was dealt to the Suns in 1992, winning MVP in his first year with Phoenix. He does not like how Simmons has handled things.
“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.'"