Ben Simmons is Public Enemy No. 1 among Philadelphia 76ers fans nowadays. Even so, the former No. 1 pick apparently remained active in performing philanthropic work in his former home city even after getting traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately, he reportedly needed to detach his name from one charitable activity in the city for a heartbreaking reason.
Will Philly fans ever forgive him?
When the Sixers drafted Simmons in 2016, the organization and its fans were likely hoping that they finally found the team's point guard of the future. For a time, it seemed like the Louisiana State University product could grow into the role. He had become a three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive First Team selection.
However, his knack for disappearing in the playoffs and lackadaisical attitude alienated most of the Sixers fan base during his final months with the franchise. Some have even put the blame on him for the team's failure to advance in the 2021 playoffs. Simmons' subsequent trade demand and holdout with the organization further fueled the disdain Sixers fans had for him.
The hostility towards him has even seemingly prevented him from giving back to the community. And judging by how they booed Simmons in his playing return to Philadelphia, it doesn't seem like the City of Brotherly Love is letting up on the hate anytime soon.
Funnily enough, he thought the jeers would be louder.
Finding his footing
What's likely more bothersome for some of the Sixers faithful is that Simmons has begun playing better for the Nets.
After starting the 2022-23 season averaging just 5.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game, the 6-foot-10 playmaker has improved in his last four matches. During that stretch, he posted 14.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per contest.
It remains to be seen if he can maintain his production and efficiency from the field or improve upon them.
As for the Sixers, they probably miss having a legitimate floor general run the team after Simmons' exit and James Harden's absence due to a strained foot that's kept him out the past eight games.