We haven’t seen Ben Simmons on the NBA field in over a year. That will change in the coming weeks.
However, he first opened up to JJ Redick on the “Old Man and the Three” podcast — starting with what happened on the infamous dunk he lost in Game 7 against the Hawks in 2021, a play that Joel Embiid said turned the game.
Ben Simmons and Tweet embed Revisit the overrun Dunk in Game 7 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Watch the full episode: https://t.co/XvcwoCFhLG pic.twitter.com/HR7HHIpWeT
– TheOldMan & TheThree (OldManAndThree) September 22 2022
“I just spun and I’m assuming Trae Young is going to come faster. So I’m thinking he’s coming in fast and I see Matisse Thieppole step up and Matisse is athletic and he gets up so I’m thinking, ‘Okay, a quick pass, he’ll wash it out’ I don’t know how much space that happened. It just happened so fast that you’re just You read. And in the playoffs, you need to make the right decisions most of the time. And for the moment. I mean, it happened and I was like, OK, damn, now we have to go make another play.”
Then Simmons owned how bad he looked on the reboot (although he didn’t talk about how it looked like a guy who didn’t want to be held back by his struggles on the streak).
“Yeah, it was horrible. I was like, ‘When I look at her now I think, man, punch this f***. But that didn’t happen. And I was just fine, I could live with it, okay. I mean, everyone’s trying to kill me because of one play” .
Simmons has opened up on the podcast to other areas, like when coach Doc Rivers kicked him out of training.
“I wasn’t in this place to play. Like, I wasn’t, I couldn’t do that. And you got fired because that practice that day I actually spoke to Doc Rivers before practice. I was like, ‘Doctor, I’m not ready. Mentally, I’m not ready.'” Please. Just get it. I tried to tell him beforehand. Then he says, “Okay, I’m going to put you in any way.” And he asked me to come in. I looked at him. It was a minute in practice. Like, “You step in.” And I’m like, “First and before Everything, nobody does that, you’re doing this on purpose.” And that felt to me, “Okay, so it looks like everyone is just trying to fuck me right now.”
And how talk of not getting a good jump got to his head.
“I didn’t really realize that early in my career because this started coming up and I’m like, ‘They say I can’t. Shouldn’t I? I’m confused now… You’ve done that to me a lot. But I kind of found peace in a place where I feel comfortable, and it’s basketball.”
Simmons’ level of play and fitness is one of those gyms full of questions the Brooklyn Nets must answer as they head to training camp next week. If everything clicks on this team, this team will be a contender for the title, but the pool of questions is running out around the door, and Simmons is a big one.