Sixers star Ben Simmons returned to Instagram this week after a month away from his most active social media platform, posting a couple photos and a message on his 25th birthday that showed him practicing basketball and (vaguely) acknowledging the lows he went through after the Sixers' unexpected postseason exit in the second round.
Simmons said after the playoff loss that he needed time off to get his "mental right", and part of that was probably forgoing social media, where normal basketball fans are still relentlessly badgering him about his poor free throw shooting in the playoffs.
But amid the sea of trolls and normal "happy birthday!" posts from his various celebrity friends, Simmons received a cool and encouraging message on Instagram from none other than Draymond Green.
Here's what Green, whose post was curiously buried in Instagram's inscrutable comment section despite racking up more than 1,700 likes, had to say to Simmons:
And for those who can't read the screenshot or would like the message in text form:
"Man stop letting these people get in your head young King. Enjoy your birthday, basketball ain't go nothing to do with it, so don't let them intertwine life and basketball for you. Enjoy your life and enjoy hoop. You've earned earned [sic] both! You don't owe anybody anything! You have earned everything you have! Happy born day brotha!"
I really love this message from Green. He's not saying Simmons is a perfect player the way he is, and he's not simply saying "ignore the haters!" because haters, motivators, etc.
Green is reminding Simmons that basketball isn't the only thing in his life, and that finding a balance between work and his other interests and personal pursuits is extremely important.
So often we see athletes tie their personal identities to their professional sports careers, and when things go wrong or their careers simply come to an end, those athletes have a hard time adjusting because they don't know who they are outside of sports.
Luckily for Simmons, he seems to have a number of varied interests outside of basketball - video games, wine and food, music, and a general larger sense of culture - but it's still really good advice from Green. Simmons should want to better himself on the court, considering it's one of his greatest passions in life, but he shouldn't let basketball shortcomings define him entirely.
Of course, it's also funny and probably not totally coincidental that a guy in Green who doesn't shoot the ball particularly well and whose on-court impact is sometimes hard to quantify through traditional counting stats is sticking up for a guy in Simmons who doesn't shoot the ball particularly well and whose on-court impact is sometimes hard to quantify through traditional counting stats.
In general, though, very cool to see this from Green.