As a result of Ben Simmons being absent from Boston’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal took aim at him, calling him out for his so-called “punk move.”
Nets hoped that Simmons, who was traded to Brooklyn after James Harden was traded to Philadelphia in February, would make his debut with the team in the final game of the series with Boston leading 3-0, but on Sunday the team announced that he was ruled out with an ongoing back issue.
Despite the fact that the Nets were eliminated from the playoffs after a 116-112 defeat, O’Neal pointed to Simmons’ absence as a contributing factor.
“We call it a punk move in the neighbourhood. “I’m going to play in Game 4,” you know, when things are going well…. Game 3 of the series was a loss for them, and “My back hurts.”
Get some Icy Hot if your back hurts. Let me know if you need it. On TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” he called it a “punk move.””
“As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not ready to play, you should just say “I’m not ready to play.”
And don’t say anything else, either.. Shooting while announcing your return is not a good idea. You can count on me.’ I’m not sure what the point of that was…”
He went on to warn: “Don’t claim you’re going to play if you’re not going to. To me, you should have tried to help your team win, but instead you opted for the punk move.
‘My back hurts,’ he announced.’ That’s something we’ve all figured out. That’s what ballers know. I don’t care what anyone else thinks; we guys who have lived this life know exactly what you’re doing.”
For reasons related to his mental health, Simmons requested a trade and declined to play for the 76ers this season. While working out in the gym in Brooklyn, he began to feel pain in his back.
Before Game 3 on Saturday, coach Steve Nash said that the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draught had no setbacks after a 3-on-3 scrimmage earlier that day.
Since then, Simmons has been working his way back from herniated disc in his back.