‘Couldn’t Get His Mojo’: Former Lakers Teammate Hits Back at Shaquille O’Neal for His Ben Simmons’ Criticism

Published 10/04/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Jun 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket against Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) during the first half in game six in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


The Ben Simmons saga with his team Philadelphia 76ers is getting bigger day by day. Recently, Simmons asked for a transfer from Philly and that’s when criticism poured in even more for the All-Star. Former NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal was one of those taking a shot at Simmons, but that’s not it.

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Simmons and the entire situation circling him began during the 2021 eastern conference semifinals, Sixers vs Hawks – Game 7. During the last few minutes of the game, Philadelphia’s forward passed up a dunking opportunity to his teammate, Matisse Thybulle.

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Many called Simmons out for ‘being scared of the ball’ and not making a clutch shot in a crucial matchup. From there on, the tensions between Simmons and the 76ers seem to have only increased. Joel Embiid said it was the ‘turning point’ of the game, and meanwhile, Simmons asked for a trade from Philadelphia.

Ben Simmons ran into a psychological situation, according to former player

Here’s the part where the issue became worse. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal took a dig at Simmons for making such a move and not attending team practices on ‘The Big Podcast with Shaq‘. He called out the 25-year-old player by saying, “You’re not that good. You’re not great.”

Well, former player John Sally found Shaq’s comments to be out of line.

Rather, John came back at Shaq for not understanding the psychological factor of players like Ben Simmons. The former 4-time NBA champion told – Ben Simmons ran into a psychological situation. Distress in your brain literally takes away from your talent. And he just couldn’t get his mojo going…”

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A piece of advice for Shaquille O’Neal after criticizing Simmons

Besides Simmons, John further talked on behalf of the likes of Kyrie Irving and Aaron Rodgers as well.

He elaborated by saying, “When they start realizing there’s more to life than this game, you start acting different. I don’t ever think of taking shots at people if you don’t know them personally. When you’re saying something and you’re pushing these on, you probably never sat down and had a conversation. You don’t know what demons or angels people are dealing with.”

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John Sally is focused on not making judgments regarding players and he suggests Shaq should do the same. But, Shaq isn’t the only one who criticized Simmons for his performance and problems with the 76ers’ management. Former notable player and present NBA analyst Charles Barkley also expressed his disappointment towards Ben Simmons.

Jan 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) celebrates with guard Ben Simmons (25) and center Joel Embiid (21) after scoring the game winning basket during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Simmons, who averaged 11.9 points during the 2021 playoffs, is now looking for trade destinations. The Sixers and Simmons are now at loggerheads over this issue, which has quickly become a hot topic in the league. Where can you see Ben Simmons making it this summer? Let us know in the comments.

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Pavni Ahuja

535 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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