There’s some important background to have when taking a look at this awful statement from the team – & the awful paraphrasing of the statement from this reporter:
Ben Simmons was the NBA’s #1 overall pick in 2016. He was named Rookie of the Year his first season, & has gone on to make the All-Star Team as one of the league’s top players in 2019, 2020, & 2021.
Last year in the playoffs, with expectations high, for the ‘6ers to go on a deep run, Ben didn’t perform up to fan/organization “expectations.” From an outsiders perspective you could tell something was up. When pro athletes consistently miss something as routine as free-throws, it’s often a sign that the underlying issues are more than just a tweaking of the mechanics. Simmons – like a Simone Biles, was under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform.
Hey, pressure’s part of pro sports – we get it. But just like too much pressure CAN tear a ligament…too much pressure can do a number on one’s central nervous system. And it’s not just the sports pressure – it’s all the underlying pressure from what one has lived through in their lives up to that point.
After last season, Simmons & the team began engaging in verbal sparring. Simmons asked for a trade. The new head of Bball Ops for the ‘6ers, Daryl Morey said he intended to trade Simmons, but also began holding back payments of salary – while they are trying to make the trade happen because of Ben’s absence as they look around.
Morey, seeking a King’s Ransom in exchange for the Simmons, got on radio the other day & insinuated: this could take all 4 years of his contract to get done. A clear way to put pressure on Ben.
So Ben recently came back to Philly, addressed his team, & told them he’s not mentally ready to play to his expectations.
That’s what led to these comments from this reporter & the team about being “livid about faking mental illness.”
Can’t say this strongly enough mental HEALTH is NOT binary. It lives on a continuum. Until we drop the “1 in 5 mentally ill” campaigns, these terrible takes continue. Ben has a RIGHT to feel a certain way, diagnosis or not. No one should question that this ugly way.