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.
A fan dumped popcorn on Russell Westbrook as he was leaving the floor following an injury on Wednesday night, and there is video that will likely help the Philadelphia 76ers identify the culprit.
Westbrook exited Game 2 of the Washington Wizards’ first-round playoff against the Sixers 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. You can see the video here.
A zoomed-in version of the footage shows that the popcorn shower clearly was no accident. You can see a fan dump his box of popcorn on Westbrook just as the Wizards star passed underneath.
Westbrook said after the game that he’s fine with fans trash talking, so long as it’s about sports. But when it gets derogatory or personal or about family, he believes that is crossing a line. He also felt that the fan dumping popcorn was crossing a line.
This is nothing new for Westbrook. He is extremely sensitive about fan behavior. He got a fan in Utah banned after their exchange in 2019. He pushed a Nuggets fan after a game.
Philadelphia 76ers fans got the chance to taunt Kevin Durant a bit during Wednesday’s game.
Joel Embiid was at the free throw line late in the Sixers’ 123-117 win over the Brooklyn Nets. As he was at the line, Sixers fans broke out with the “KD sucks” chant.
That was a pretty loud chant for only having an attendance of 4,094 fans at Wells Fargo Center for the game.
The Sixers and Nets are competing at the top of the Eastern Conference. Thanks to their win, the Sixers have the top spot in the East by a game over Brooklyn. The Bucks are also in the mix with those two as the top teams in the East. But there is definitely a rivalry brewing, which explains the fans’ behavior.
It’s really nice to hear fans taunting an opposing player again. Even one player said as much this week, though we’re not sure Durant would feel similarly.
If the thoughts of Al Horford’s siblings are any indication, the center really didn’t enjoy his time in Philadelphia.
Horford was dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday in a move that netted the Philadelphia 76ers Danny Green and cap relief at the cost of draft picks. His sister Anna promptly sent a pair of tweets about 76ers fans, referring to them as “the most miserable fans in the NBA.” She also tweeted images of Sixers fans tweeting insults at her (warning, NSFW language). Anna Horford also added that Sixers fans “hated us because we never hated on Boston.”
Horford’s brother Josh echoed Anna’s sentiments, tweeting “Thank god Al is out of Philly” and suggesting that Sixers fans on Twitter are crybabies.
This isn’t the first time Anna Horford has had some unkind things to say about the Sixers. This frustration and dislike of Philadelphia does not appear to be new.
Horford signed a four-year, $97 million deal with the Sixers prior to last season. He was one of the players the team was counting on to help lift them toward championship contention. Instead, Horford’s season was a disaster, with the 34-year-old averaging just 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. He struggled with his role in the team’s offense and wasn’t even a guaranteed starter by the end of the season. Ultimately, it sounds like his departure is best for everyone.