Shaquille O'Neal heatedly pointed out on national TV that Ben Simmons "punked" the Brooklyn Nets when he refused to play on Monday due to an ailing back. Before the news broke on Sunday, Simmons had been doing dribbling drills, shooting and dunking during practice.
On "The Big Podcast with Shaq," the Hall of Fame big man explained why the Australian has lost credibility among many fans. Here’s how he weighed in on Simmons’ situation:
“See, back is the only thing that doctors can’t really diagnose. … You can diagnose a knee, an ankle, a hand, but back, you can’t diagnose. When somebody says their back hurt, you gotta come believe them. But your back can’t hurt if you're jumping up and down.
“Your back can’t hurt if you're doing all this. Is your back maybe sore? Yeah, everybody’s back sore! I ain’t play in 15 years, my back and my knees and my ankle are sore. … That’s why people don’t respect a guy like that.”
Simmons never played for the Nets after they traded for him in February. That included Monday's Game 4, when Brooklyn lost to the Boston Celtics 116-112 and were swept in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
On Sunday, O'Neal called out Simmons for what he said was a "punk move."
In the last few years, Simmons has alternated between mental issues and back problems as reasons for refusing to play. Ultimately, when the Nets were on the ropes, needing all the help they could get, the two reasons eventually became one.
The former All-Star met with the Nets’ front office before Game 4 to inform them that his mental health issues are tied to his back troubles. Simmons will now have the whole summer to get both his mind and body right.
Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Tim Legler and Stephen A. Smith ripped Simmons for the absurdity of his reasons and the timing of the injury.
Shaquille O'Neal explains why even casual basketball fans are upset with Ben Simmons
Shaquille O'Neal contends that one does not even have to be a basketball fan to know that Ben Simmons is "punking" everyone. His situation is something everyone can relate to, particularly when it comes to showing up for work.
Here’s how Shaq illustrated “Big Ben’s” controversial issues:
“This is why people are upset and don’t respect Ben. … I see a guy on his phone. I see a lovely lady on that computer. They work hard, probably would never see $2 million. They’re tired, their back hurt, you don’t hear them complaining. They’re not allowed to complain.
"So, why can’t a guy that makes $30 million because his back is sore, how come he can’t go to work? If your back is hurtin', you can’t walk!”
O'Neal previously vowed, also on national TV, to hold back his criticism of Simmons. But the three-time Finals MVP apparently can no longer hold back his anger and frustration at what he perceived the Nets star was doing.