Kendall Jenner, one of the most famous people in the world, has been spotted at Sixers games throughout November. It appears that her fling with Ben Simmons, which had reportedly fizzled out this past summer, is back on, as she was most recently seen sitting adjacent to the Sixers’ bench at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night.
Philadelphia fans, ever the calm, rational bunch, are losing their minds over it. There’s a petition to ban her from Sixers home games. There’s a counter petition that says she should go to every Sixers game too. I agree with the latter camp. Or you know, just let her attend any game she chooses.
Ben Simmons, who has never met nor will he ever meet the thousands of people who signed these petitions, should date whomever the heck he wants.
Who is a rich, good looking, 22-year-old basketball star playing in Philadelphia supposed to date? Phoebe Phanatic? Though Simmons being the stepfather of the Phillie Phanatic seems like fan fiction that I would tweet out, it’s just not feasible. He’s obviously going to date someone else who is wealthy and attractive while doubling as a supermodel and reality TV star.
Everyone whines that Simmons has his eyes set on Hollywood when he hits free agency down the line. Maybe he really does want the glitz and glamor of Los Angeles that he can’t get in Philadelphia. It would probably be refreshing to him that no Lakers fan would bat an eye about one of the team’s players dating someone who’s impossibly famous. Know what’s a good way to make Simmons take a one-way trip to Bel-Air Fresh Prince style? Making an online petition that goes viral about how the man’s girlfriend should be banned from watching him play basketball at his home arena.
The Sixers are first in attendance in the entire league this year after finishing dead last in 2015 and just 28th in 2016. Who are Sixers fans to turn people away from watching their team in person despite no one bothering to show up when Furkan Aldemir, Sonny Weems and Phil Pressey (all three are real people) were wearing Sixers uniforms? I’m still in awe when I go to a game now and the arena isn’t just filled with 300 guys who used to wake up at 5 a.m. to watch Dario Saric play basketball in Croatia or Turkey.
The Sixers have been hoarding cap space for a half-decade in the pursuit of star players. The easiest way to get players is to have a good team in place already, which is where Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler come in, or to play in a major market. No one in Los Angeles, New York or Miami is losing their mind overseeing Jenner attend their respective basketball team’s games. It’s commonplace for them, which is why NBA stars seem so keen on playing in those hotspots.
Know who else would probably like to play in an environment where celebrities are scattered across the courtside seats at the Wells Fargo Center? Kemba Walker. Kawhi Leonard. Khris Middleton. Klay Thompson. Bradley Beal. Fostering an atmosphere that draws celebrities will have the double whammy of drawing star players.
On a personal level, it makes no sense to hate who a person you don’t know dates.
On a basketball level, it makes no sense to hate who one of your team’s star players date.
Simmons isn’t beyond criticism. If you want to get on his case for his flat-out refusal to take a shot outside of five feet or his reluctance to draw contact in traffic and get to the free throw line, you’re more than within your right there. I scream about his on-court flaws at least twice per game but leave the dude’s off-court exploits to himself.
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