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#pounditTuesday, May 17, 2022

Shaq rips into Ben Simmons with harsh criticism

Shaq sitting courtside

Shaq absolutely lit into Ben Simmons on Thursday night and took no prisoners.

Shaquille O’Neal argued on Tuesday why he believes Joel Embiid is the NBA MVP. During his argument, Shaq seemed to believe that Embiid deserves extra points because he’s stepped up while Simmons is away from the team.

On TNT Thursday, Shaq directed his attention to Simmons, who has missed the entire season while seeking a trade away from Philadelphia.

“The difference between [Embiid] and his soft partner is [Embiid] can take criticism without being a crybaby, and he still wants to play,” Shaq said of Simmons.

Shaq said he likes and respects Embiid because the 76ers big because of the way he handled criticism. Embiid was initially hurt by the criticism he received from O’Neal and Charles Barkley on TNT in 2019. But he later grew to appreciate it.

By comparison, Shaq feels that Simmons received criticism over his poor showing in the playoffs last season and has responded poorly.

“You’re missing the whole season because they asked your coach a question: ‘can we win without you?’, and your coach gave a funny answer. That should tell you you need to get in the summer time and work on your game,” O’Neal said.

Shaq was alluding to Doc Rivers’ comments after the Sixers were eliminated from the playoffs last year.

“Great players get criticized, but the great players also step up to the criticism and perform,” Shaq said.

Shaq never referred to Simmons by name, indicating how little respect he has for the versatile 76ers guard.

Shaq criticizing Simmons is not new, but he has taken an even harsher tone. He was exceptionally critical of Simmons during the playoffs last year, saying he would have knocked out Simmons for playing so poorly.

Photo: Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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