Lately, we’ve seen some backlash and animosity between the mainstream media and the NBA players, with the recent exchange between Shannon Sharpe and Kevin Durant. Some media members are actively making up stories to create tension, usually for viewership and ratings. That obviously rubs the players the wrong way, and Ben Simmons is the recent player that took shots at the media, especially ESPN and SportsCenter and some of their hosts.
In a recent interview for GQ, Simmons talked about the pressure, especially from the media and people that don’t mean much to you personally. As he matured, Simmons nowadays tries to ignore everyone and doesn’t use social media much. He even said that none of those channels and shows are allowed every time someone comes to his house.
When I first came into the league, I read a lot more of it. But I’m at the stage now where I try to ignore everybody. I don’t go on Twitter. I don’t read too much into what people are saying about me. I don’t watch ESPN. I don’t watch SportsCenter, none of that. They’ll tell you if someone puts ESPN in my house it’s going straight off. There’s no SportsCenter, unless it’s a game going on or something like that. There’s no Stephen A., there’s none of that.Ben Simmons, via GQ
[An Australian man in the background begins yelling: “That’s confirmed! This is confirmation!”]
Simmons completely changed his mindset, and it brought success for him individually, and that reflected on the Sixers as well, who are the leading team in the eastern conference. Simmons doesn’t like the media because they are a lot of times changing the narrative and focus on stories that are not even related to basketball sometimes.
Yeah, turn that off. Turn that shit off [laughs]. That’s just how I am. It’s gone from people watching and enjoying sports and a couple of people talking, to you’re in Vegas, and you see the tickers on the bottom of the screen explaining all these comments and what this guy or that guy did. Less is more, sometimes.Ben Simmons, via GQ
Simmons is someone right to make these claims even though he is a public figure, especially if the media is making false claims or misquoting what players said. The good thing is that now players more than ever are empowered to make their voices heard, primarily through social media where their voices can be heard and reach millions of people. Nevertheless, Simmons’s approach is doing wonders for him individually because he and his team are among the most pleasant surprises this season.