Sixers: A letter to Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Net

Ben Simmons (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Dear Ben Simmons,

When your team plays the Sixers tonight, there will be more eyes on you than anyone else on the floor. More eyes on you than Joel Embiid, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant combined. It’s obvious why. The not so obvious is how you will respond to the venomous taunts and hostile heckling that are sure to fill the Wells Fargo Center. Will you offer a stoic gaze while watching, or display a smirk throughout the game? Just have to wait and see, huh?

This letter is not to scold you or hold you accountable for the most disappointing playoff series loss in recent memory. It’s not even to throw shade for the way you almost wrecked the Sixers’ season. It is actually to say thank you for landing us one of the most skilled guards in NBA history. With James Harden, this town now has something to look forward to as fans.

As baseball season goes through its turbulent negotiations, the Phillies are in limbo. The Eagles are detached from any kind of substantial winning culture, and the Flyers are just, well, the Flyers. Yet, because of your unique way of handling things, we have James Harden to inject hope into our collective bloodstreams. We have the Beard as a result of all of the drama you brought, and I am grateful.

Sure, we went through hell as a fanbase to land a player of Harden’s caliber, but so far, it has been well worth it. We now have a perimeter player who is a threat from any spot on the floor. He’s a true playmaker that sees the floor in ways that you aspire to as you refine your skills. Yes, you have shooting great, Kyle Korver, deconstructing your shot, but we actually have our own 3-point assassin that still plays. Lucky us.

When you were drafted, like all of Philly, I was ecstatic. The potential you had back then was as sky high as our championship hopes today. I was at Xfinity Live! when your name was announced by Adam Silver. The elbow-to-elbow crowd roared as we celebrated Philadelphia’s new prize. What a memory.

I was there in multiple games where you put up triple-double after triple-double. I was there when you played lockdown defense on the opposing team’s best player. I was also there when you missed free throw after free throw versus the Hawks in game five last season, but what can I say? In life, you take the good with the bad.

I lauded you for your philanthropy. I applauded you for winning NBA Rookie of the Year. I complained when you didn’t shoot, and I criticized you when you posted gym workout videos. I even suggested Philly trade you during the summer of 2020. Like the rest of Sixers Nation, I rode the Ben Simmons roller coaster, and now we’ve gotten off.

Magnanimity is a tough sell for most fans who endured what you put the franchise through, even for me, as I traipsed in the labyrinth of your drama-filled hold out. However, I’ve moved on to the next phase of my fandom. I guess I’ve matured and let go of the disappointment, and it’s mainly because of what we’ve gotten in return: a real shot at a title.

I may not speak for the fans who dropped an arm and a leg just to boo you tonight, but I thank you, Ben Simmons. I don’t wish you bad, yet I don’t wish you well. I just wish this Sixers franchise and fan base moves on from you while we prepare for an entertaining postseason with the ultimate gift – James Harden.


A formerly frustrated yet forgiving fan

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