Shaq Knocks Simmons – Again

March 29, 2024

If you follow the stories here on the ShaqFu Radio blog, you know that our man Shaq has been very critical of the play – or should we say the lack of play – from Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons. Well, more fur is flying this week. 

On the Big Podcast with Shaq this week (as of this posting), O’Neal flamed Simmons once again, as the Nets announced the big-salary guard will be sitting out the rest of the NBA season with back issues. The official word from the team came earlier this month, when the Nets said the 27-year-old would be out due to a nerve impingement in his lower back. 

On the Big Podcast, it all started with a seemingly innocent question from podcast co-host Adam Lefkoe. He asked Shaq and co-host Jamal Crawford who they would actually pay money to see play. Shaq’s answer? Ben Simmons. Yeah, we know he’s not playing… try to keep up. 

Shaq’s comments on Simmons: “Because I’d wanna learn how you can make $80 million and play 55 games. Teach me how you can f***ing play 55 games in three seasons and get $30m, $40m, and get another $40m just by saying your back hurt.”

Simmons on the bench – again

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If you’ve seen Shaq’s many TV commercials, you know one of his OG product endorsements is for a pain relief cream. Shaq blasted, “ Get some f***ing Icy Hot, man up.” 

For the record, Simmons – a former Number One NBA draft pick, BTW – has appeared in 15 games for Brooklyn this season, with his last coming in late February and a 111-86 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

You might think Shaq would take it easy on a fellow LSU Tiger alum. You’d think wrong. Simmons back issues first came to light when he played for the Philadelphia 76ers. Along with physical issues, there were reports of mental challenges as well. For whatever set of reasons, Simmons missed the entire 2021-22 season, and was sent packing to Brooklyn. 

In total, Simmons has played in just 57 games since the Nets acquired him in that blockbuster trade with Philadelphia for James Harden… a deal made right at the deadline during the 2021-22 season.

Last season, Simmons clocked in for 42 games with his lingering back issues and knee ailments. Brooklyn finished sixth in the Eastern Conference last year, before getting swept by his former team, the 76ers, in the first round of the playoffs.

This year’s numbers: Simmons averaged 6.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.7 assists while shooting 58.1 percent from the field. Currently, the Nets are at the 11th slot in the Eastern Conference with a 28-45 record late in the season, and would be almost certainly out of playoff contention. 

As we said, O’Neal has been tough on Simmons for a long time. Back when he was with the Sixers, Shaq called him a crybaby, and labeled him as superstar Joel Embiid’s “soft partner.” Shaq on Inside the NBA: “The difference between him (Embiid) and his soft partner is he can take criticism without being a crybaby and he still wants to play.”

As for Simmons, he’s still got one year – valued at about $40 million – remaining on his contract. The team says he’s expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp next season.

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