Tobias Harris gave a classy response on Wednesday to his incident with 76ers fans a few days earlier.
Harris got booed by the home crowd in Philadelphia during his team’s win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Rather than accept the boos, Harris allowed the boos to get the best of him. He gestured to the fans to give him more boos. Then after they cheered when he made a shot later in the game, he told them not to cheer him (video here).
Antagonizing your home fans is never a good idea, and Harris seemed to learn that.
After the Sixers beat the Orlando Magic 116-106 on Wednesday, Harris said he loved the fans. He also acknowledged that receiving boos are the trade off to being cheered.
Harris further showed maturity in acknowledging he was frustrated and didn’t respond in the best way.
The veteran forward shot better on Wednesday and scored 22 points.
If he remembers his priorities and tries to avoid letting his frustration get the best of him, he’ll be in good shape.
Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Tobias Harris became defiant with Philadelphia 76ers fans on Monday night after being unhappy with the treatment he received from them.
Harris had 14 points, six rebounds and six assists in his team’s 133-112 win over the Houston Rockets. Harris did not shoot the ball well to begin the game and went 6/15 overall, missing all three of his 3-point attempts.
Harris went 3/10 in the first half and heard boos from the home fans after missing his last shot of the half.
So after making a shot in the fourth quarter and receiving applause, Harris could be seen telling the fans “don’t clap.”
Joel Embiid, who had a triple-double, said it was all done in fun between the two parties.
Sixers acting coach Dan Burke says they talked with Harris at halftime about trying to block out the noise.
The Sixers gave Harris a five-year, $180 million contract in July 2019. Many Sixers fans felt at the time that the team picked the wrong player to keep and the wrong one to let go. Harris has some big expectations from the fans and is not living up to them, which plays a part in this sort of treatment.
Joel Embiid is a larger-than-life figure in Philadelphia … now literally speaking as well.
Images recently went viral on social media of a funny local billboard in Philadelphia with the 76ers star Embiid as its subject. The billboard is simply a large picture of Embiid with “MVPiid” written above him.
Fans driving by took pictures of the billboard and shared them online.
The Liberty Line notes that the billboard is located right off 34th Street in South Philadelphia.
As for the MVP case that the billboard is making for Embiid, it is not a bad one. Embiid is averaging 26.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, and a career-high 4.1 assists per game this season. But what hurts his candidacy is that the Sixers are just 18-16 overall. Embiid also missed several weeks of action when he had a bout with COVID-19 last month.
That does not make the giant billboard any less entertaining though. In fact, it’s probably the best billboard we’ve seen in the city since this hilarious one.
Photo: Nov 27, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up before action against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia 76ers fans put on the full-court press for Damian Lillard during Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
As Lillard stepped to the line in the first quarter, the Wells Fargo Center crowd broke out in “We want Lillard!” chants.
Sixers writer Austin Krell shared how loud the chants got from press row.
The Sixers faithful also gave Lillard a roaring ovation during the pregame introductions, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice. That is a rarity for stars of opposing teams.
The six-time All-Star Lillard was connected to Philly in offseason rumors and is reportedly coveted by Sixers executive Daryl Morey. Lillard has since reaffirmed his commitment to Portland though and is signed through 2024.
But that will not stop the Sixers fans from putting their best foot forward for Lillard. They seem to be staying ready just in case he does an about-face and eventually requests a trade from the Blazers.
Photo: Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ben Simmons reportedly has had enough of Philadelphia 76ers fans, and apparently the feeling is mutual.
Fans in attendance for Wednesday night’s AEW Dynamite event at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia broke out an anti-Simmons chant mid-event.
Take a listen to this, though beware of the use of the F-word.
What’s the story with the chants? Simmons is refusing to play for or report to the Sixers following last season’s playoff disaster. One of his issues with the team reportedly has to do with the fans.
Once that information became public, it was all over for Simmons and Sixers fans. When Philly fans smell blood in the water, they attack like sharks.
Much has been made of why Ben Simmons wants out of Philadelphia. One report indicates that 76ers fans are a rather significant reason.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst told SiriusXM NBA Radio that his understanding is Simmons does not want to play in front of Philadelphia fans. The issue is significant enough that Windhorst believes Simmons might be willing to report if not for the fact that he would have to face 76ers fans.
“It’s not just that he doesn’t want to play there anymore,” Windhorst said. “He doesn’t want to be in front of those fans. So for him, I don’t think he intends to ever show his face there again unless he’s part of the visiting team.
“Part of this is just a visceral thing. It’s not even about ‘I’m unhappy, get me out of here.’ I think he has instructed his agents, ‘I’m not showing up. I don’t want in front of those fans.'”
Simmons’ unhappiness is so deep that he reportedly turned down a visit from his teammates, who hoped to change his mind. It makes sense that this goes beyond simply the organization’s treatment of him, but it would be pretty remarkable for a player to detest his own fanbase that much.
Simmons wouldn’t be the first 76ers player to completely fall out with fans. Philadelphia sports fans are notoriously passionate and demanding, but you won’t see this level of mutual antipathy very often.
Ben Simmons is not exactly Mr. Popular in Philadelphia these days, and one local news station is providing a good reminder of that.
A broadcast this week of FOX 29’s “Good Day Philadelphia” took an absolutely brutal shot at the 76ers star. One anchor led in by announcing, “We just got in footage of Ben Simmons leaving hastily out of Philadelphia.” The station then played a video of a large dumpster being carried away by the flooding from Hurricane Ida. When the dumpster smashed against a nearby bridge, the anchor remarked, “Hit his head on the way out.”
Take a look at the video.
The savage diss of Simmons comes amid news that the former No. 1 overall pick has formally requested a trade from the Sixers. Simmons is reportedly so disgruntled that he wants to play for any other team but Philadelphia.
Still though, this is probably the most ruthless shot that a local station has taken at its own star player since the one this Tennessee station delivered.
Danny Green knows all about getting harsh treatment from his own team’s fans, and his first season in Philadelphia definitely continued on that theme.
The veteran swingman spoke this week with NBC Sports Philadelphia. In the interview, Green was asked if the fickleness of the Sixers’ fans can have an effect on the players.
“For sure,” Green replied. “It has an effect on everybody, and I think that’s something that needs to change in the city. I love our fans, but when things aren’t going well, they can’t turn on you. That’s the one thing that I would disagree with or dislike. Some guys use it as motivation, some guys have a chip on their shoulder, but I think that needs to change. They need to be riding with us, regardless of how things are going.
“We’re the No. 1 team in the East, still playing well, and in some games they’ll boo us,” added Green. “That’s part of the culture here, part of their way of showing they love us. But with a guy like Ben [Simmons], and other guys, I think they need to stick behind them and stick by them as long as they can, until the horn blows. And even then, he’s here. He’s given so much to the organization and the city, on and off the court, that he deserves that respect and that support.”
Of course, Sixers fans vehemently support their team and are far from the only fanbase to start booing when the team falls flat of expectations. But one ex-Sixer seemed to feel the same way Green does about the local fans. Even Simmons himself, a regular target of fan ire, has been unhappy in the past with the booing.
Green, who will now be an unrestricted free agent, had a fairly successful individual season in Philly. But he was injured in the playoffs as the team bowed out in the second round. For what it’s worth, Green has experienced much worse treatment before at the hands of another fanbase.
The spotlight will be on Ben Simmons during Sunday’s Game 7. If there was any doubt about that, the pregame reception he got from his own fans in Philadelphia proves it.
Simmons worked on his much-maligned free throw shooting during pregame warmups ahead of the Sixers’ decisive game against the Atlanta Hawks. Whenever he made one, the home fans could be heard offering some possibly tongue-in-cheek cheers.
It’s not clear if this is supposed to be encouraging or not. It’s definitely indicative of how bad things have gotten for Simmons, though. He wasn’t even on the court for key parts of Game 6 due to concerns about his free throw shooting.
Simmons has shot just 33.8 percent from the line during the playoffs so far. Expect the Hawks to try to force him to make some free throws with the season on the line.
The Philadelphia 76ers have identified the person who dumped popcorn on Russell Westbrook on Wednesday night, and the fan will not be attending any events at the Wells Fargo Center in the future.
The Sixers released a statement on Thursday saying the fan has had his season tickets revoked and is banned from the Wells Fargo Center indefinitely. The team also apologized to Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for “being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior.” You can see the full statement below:
Westbrook exited Game 2 of the Washington’s first-round playoff against the 76ers after spraining his ankle. He was showered in popcorn as he walked through the tunnel and went berserk. Members of Washington’s staff had to restrain Westbrook from going after the fan.
A zoomed-in version of the footage showed that the popcorn shower clearly was no accident. A fan deliberately dumped his box of popcorn on Westbrook just as the Wizards star passed underneath. You can see the video here.