Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has been on fire as of late, and not just on the basketball court. Sure, he continues to drop dimes and play an otherworldly brand of perimeter defense, but his words have been making all the headlines.
Most recently, the three-time NBA All-Star made the bold declaration that the league’s Defensive Player of the Year trophy is his to lose this season. In doing so, he even took aim at the player some consider to be his rival in the race — Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
As outspoken as he has been though, Simmons doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of reining himself in. Instead, the hot takes continue to flow from the 24-year-old hoops maven.
Case in point: his latest interview with GQ, which began making the rounds on Friday.
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Simmons Has Enacted a Full-On SportsCenter Boycott
Among the myriad topics touched upon during the interview, Simmons discussed his apparent disdain for a certain sports television network. In doing so, he shed some light on the media scrutiny he and other ballers are forced to contend with.
“I don’t go on Twitter. I don’t read too much into what people are saying about me. I don’t watch ESPN. I don’t watch SportsCenter, none of that,” Simmons said.
“They’ll tell you, if someone puts ESPN in my house it’s going straight off,” he continued. “There’s no SportsCenter, unless it’s a game going on or something like that. There’s no Stephen A., there’s none of that.”
When an Australian man in the background apparently confirmed that Simmons will, in fact, change the channel immediately, the Sixers standout continued to go in on the four-letter network’s flagship show.
“Yeah, turn that off. Turn that s**t off. That’s just how I am. It’s gone from people watching and enjoying sports and a couple of people talking, to you’re in Vegas and you see the tickers on the bottom of the screen explaining all these comments and what this guy or that guy did. Less is more, sometimes.”
Given the way some members of the media have spoken about him, it’s hard to blame Simmons for his anti-SportsCenter stance.
On His Championship Aspirations
There’s no doubting that Simmons and his Sixers crew are an elite-level team. After all, they haven’t compiled a 38-17 record and stormed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings by accident.
They did it through stellar play and sheer force of will. Wins came in droves despite COVID-19 ravaging their team early in the season and Joel Embiid later missing multiple weeks with a bone bruise.
As one might expect, though, Simmons isn’t content with simply being another team among the group of elite clubs. He wants to win the championship, and he’s operating under the assumption that it’s going to happen this season.
“I think this is the year for us to do it,” he said.
When the interviewer asked him to clarify what exactly “it” was, Simmons said it more plainly.
“Win the championship. I genuinely believe that. I feel like there’s been years where guys would’ve said it on the Sixers, but I don’t think we really believed it. But, I genuinely think this is the year.”