Ben Simmons he said in an interview published Thursday that he just wanted “help” during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers, and that many within the organization were not supportive of him as he struggled with his mental health.
“I was in such a bad place that I was like, f—, I’m trying to get here and you guys are throwing all these other things at me that aren’t helping. And that’s all I wanted, help,” Simmons told his former Sixers teammate JJ Redick on the podcast The Old Man & the Three.
“I didn’t feel like I got it from the coaches, teammates, although I won’t say all the teammates, because there are great guys on that team that reached out and are still my friends, but I didn’t feel like I got that. [ayuda]and it was a difficult place for me.”
Simmons, a three-time All-Star, was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets in February as part of the trade that sent james harden Y Paul Millsap to the Sixers. Simmons did not play for either team during the 2021-22 season, having surgery in April for a back injury and pushing for Philadelphia to trade him after the end of the 2020-21 season.
In February, Simmons said that he simply he didn’t feel like himself during his five seasons in Philadelphia.
He told Redick he tried to “do the right thing” by trying to get back on the court before last season after threatening never to play for the Sixers again, but coach Doc Rivers kicked him out of practice for being a “distraction” after Simmons repeatedly refused to participate in a drill. Ultimately, he was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
“I actually talked to Doc before practice. I said, ‘Doc, I’m not ready. Mentally, I’m not ready. Please understand that,'” Simmons said on the podcast. “I tried to let him know earlier, and he said, ‘Well, I’m going to put you [en cancha] anyway.'” I was like, ‘Okay.’ He told me to come in. I looked at him. About a minute of practice went by, and it was, ‘Ben, come in.’
“First of all, nobody’s doing that. You’re doing this on purpose. And that’s how I felt, too. It seems like everyone is trying to f— me now. I’m going to get fined for not lifting weights, but physically I’m one of the strongest guys on the team. So now they’re fining me for little things. It was just a buildup. Obviously I didn’t handle things the right way, but neither did the team, and the people who had that power.” .
Simmons, the first pick in the 2016 draft and one of the best defenders in the league, reached an agreement with the Sixers to recoup a portion of the nearly $20 million withheld from him, sources told ESPN in August.
“I don’t care about the money,” Simmons told Redick. “It’s not about the money for me now. I want peace and happiness. I want to be in a good place, whatever it costs me. My peace is more valuable than money.”
“I can’t wait,” Simmons said on the podcast. “I’m so excited. I have a new number, a new shirt. I am looking forward to it. I think we have a special team. I think that if we put it all together, we will be the champions. That is the ultimate goal.”
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Simmons: ‘I was in a bad spot’ without help from Sixers