PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ben Simmons’ future in Philadelphia has been a hot topic since the Sixers were bounced from the second round of the NBA Playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks. But his teammates continue to have his back.
Dwight Howard is the latest Sixer to stick up for Simmons, saying people should send him some “positivity,” instead of all the hate.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police: Woman Pedestrian Struck, Killed By Chaotic Driver In Center City, Others Injured In Second Hit-And-Run
In the 21-minute-long video, Howard mentions that Simmons is only 24 and is still learning who he is as a person and player.
“I don’t think it’s right that everybody has been sending this man bad messages and all this negativity. And I think it sucks. We’re supposed to be the City of Brotherly Love and the best thing we can do is just send him some positivity,” Howard said. “This man is 24 years old, 24 years old. He’s still learning who he is as a person and a player.”
Howard is standing by his teammate despite all the criticism he is facing.
“I know a lot of stuff, they can say whatever they want about anything about this man, but he’s still a young man,” Howard said. “He’s my teammate. I don’t care how any of y’all feel about my teammate, I’mma stick with him. No matter what. Ben, got your back man, you’re my brother — and I love ya. I want everyone to know that. He might’ve messed up, didn’t take no shot, didn’t do whatever. He gonna come back better next year. So for real, I think we just need to send that man some love. Send him some love.”READ MORE: CDC's New Mask Guidance In Schools Creates Tense Moments At Central Bucks Board Meeting
Danny Green also defended his teammate during his end-of-season exit interview on Monday.
“It’s not just Ben. We all together win or lose,” Green said. “He’s a mentally tough kid, usually. We don’t know what was going on. It happens with players. Ben has gone through quite a bit this year and it’s not his fault that we lost. Everybody is going to say if Ben had made this, if I had made some shots in Game 1 or so-and-so made some shots … we can’t harp on one player.”
Head coach Doc Rivers is also not ready to throw in the towel on Simmons.
“I still believe in him, but we have work to do,” Rivers said. “We’re going to have to get in the gym, put a lot of work in and go forward.”
While Rivers plans to get Simmons into the gym to put in some work, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith recently reported that “somebody very, very” close to this situation in Philadelphia says Simmons “doesn’t work, he doesn’t listen, and everybody around him is family, and he’s constantly babied.”
— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) June 21, 2021
Howard says he was hurt, mad and pissed off at the way the season ended, but it just wasn’t the Sixers’ time.MORE NEWS: 'Everyone Keeps Passing The Buck': Tree Threatens Philadelphia Family's Home With No Help In Sight
“Philly, we got to keep trusting each other, the passion is there. I feel it,” Howard said. “I know everybody was upset, I was upset. I barely even slept.”