I feel you AI, but let’s keep it 100, Philly fans can be something else to deal with

I feel you AI, but let’s keep it 100, Philly fans can be something else to deal with


Allen Iverson, the patron saint of modern Philadelphia basketball, has some thoughts on the Ben Simmons situation.

Allen Iverson, the patron saint of modern Philadelphia basketball, has some thoughts on the Ben Simmons situation.
Photo: Getty Images

Philly’s favorite son, Allen Iverson, has been keeping a close eye on the 76ers’ dilemma regarding Ben Simmons wanting to leave town. Iverson gave Philadelphia the best years of his career and even led the team to its last NBA Finals appearance in 2001. There aren’t too many athletes who know that rabid, cantankerous Illadelphia fan base better than the answer.

I think the connection w/ the fans got out of hand and that’s what (Ben) didn’t want to have to deal with. My whole thing w/ our fans is-we w/ you if you with us. But when we feel like u don’t want to be with us….

Iverson makes a good point about the fans in Philly. But they’re about as fickle as any other fan base in the country. They’re with you if you play up to their lofty standards, apparently. The fans in Philly aren’t just with you automatically because you’re with the team. They want to see the production or at least the effort, like most fans. Although they can take things a little far sometimes. OK, they’ve crossed the line on numerous occasions in their fandom. They are a passionate bunch; I’ll give ‘em that.

The relationship between Simmons and Sixers fans is probably the lowest it’s ever been. They think he’s a quitter and a big baby. The city seems to be in lockstep with everything Joel Embiid has expressed about Simmons recently.

Now, Simmons obviously needs to work on a specific aspect of his game. And that’s shooting the ball. I think we can agree that Ben doesn’t do too well with this type of criticism. This doesn’t absolve him of any wrongdoing, but the kind of criticism Simmons is receiving from fans and the team (Embiid) is far from constructive. And I think we can all agree that Philly fans will boo anybody. It just depends on their mood that day. They’ll turn heel on ya in a New York minute. They’ve even booed Iverson in the past.

Simmons knows the deal. Today professional athletes hear, see and read everything. Ben knows the city isn’t happy with him right now. They don’t “care about that man” at this point like Embiid said.

The fans in Philly need to turn their attention toward management. Don’t let Daryl Morey off the hook this easily. I know Doc Rivers gets some blame as well, but Morey has gone seemingly unscathed throughout most of this drama. He’s so concerned with “winning” any potential trade that he’d rather hold on to a disgruntled star that has no intention of ever playing for his franchise again. Unless Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal magically becomes available, for real, the Sixers aren’t going to get equal value for Simmons. And let’s be honest, trading Simmons straight up for Lillard isn’t an equal trade. Despite his struggles early this season, Portland would be giving up too much on the offensive end by trading Lillard to Philly straight up.

Morey claims this could drag out the entire four years that Simmons has left on his contract. That’s just tough talk. You’re not going to have a player sit out four years because he doesn’t want to play for you anymore. Bring down those expectations a bit, and you might be able to get a trade figured out soon.

That’s interesting. The guy running the team has lofty expectations of what he wants in a deal for Simmons, while Philly fans also have unreasonably lofty expectations of players and teams. Sounds like they’ve swiped right and hit a perfect match.

So, I hear what you’re saying, AI, but we both know this fanbase can be tough to connect with. I mean, for Christ’s sake, these people once booed Santa Claus (while pelting him with snowballs) and Beyoncé. This is the city that had an epidemic of sports fans punching police horses. Who punches a police horse? Talk about no f’s given, sheesh.



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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.