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Ben Simmons walks back his criticism of booing 76ers fans

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 5 days ago Dan Feldman
Ben Simmons holding a basketball © AP Photo/Chris Szagola

Philadelphia fans booed the 76ers throughout a Game 1 loss to the Nets on Saturday. And that was before Amir Johnson used his phone on the bench.

Then, Ben Simmons made it even worse.

Simmons, via Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

If you’re going to boo, then stay on that side. That’s how I feel. If you’re a Sixers fan and you’re going to boo, stay on that side.

I generally dislike fans booing their own team. But Philadelphia fans certainly have a right to go the other way. No player will ever convince them to behave differently. In fact, a message like Simmons’ will usually only embolden them to boo at the first sign of trouble.

Simmons seemed to realize that.

Simmons, via Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

It’s Philly. That’s what’s going to happen. I love it. That’s how Philly is. If you can’t play here, you can’t. They’re going to give you s—, they talk s—, it is what it is. If you’re not playing well, they’re going to let you know, but I love being here. I love the fans here. I wouldn’t want to be in a place where they didn’t really care or only showed up when times are going well. A few years ago we were winning 10 games.

After the game, Joel Embiid also addressed the booing. John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

Embiid might have been referring to multiple players. But you’ll never convince me one wasn’t Simmons, who already lacked confidence in his jumper.

Simmons and other 76ers would probably play better if their fans cheer them in Game 2 tonight. Boos can be unnerving. The jeering fans are likely working against their own interests, just so they can let out their frustration.

But Philadelphia fans are going to be Philadelphia fans.

At least Simmons now seems to realize his best option is simply handling that inevitability.

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