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Ben Simmons sent angry DMs to Shaq and proved he’s not better at handling criticism

Ben Simmons proved Shaq’s point by sending him DMs after his ‘Inside the NBA’ criticism.

Before the Philadelphia 76ers whooped the Los Angeles Lakers on TNT last week, Shaquille O’Neal used his platform on ‘Inside the NBA’ to rip into Ben Simmons for sitting out this season. Shaq declared Simmons was a ‘crybaby’ and called out the 25-year-old forward for being unable to handle criticism.

“Great players get criticized,” Shaq said. “But the great players also step up to the criticism and perform. So this other guy, I don’t respect him. I’d get rid of him.”

Watch the full clip of Shaq on Simmons here. O’Neal’s scathing rant went viral, in part because he voiced the things many NBA fans are thinking while Simmons sits out. Simmons has maintained this is a mental health issue, and that he isn’t capable of getting back on the floor for the 76ers. His trade request has been the most bizarre storyline of the season stemming back to his poor performance in last year’s playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. We have a full timeline of Simmons situation here.

Simmons heard Shaq’s rant and apparently didn’t appreciate it. According to Shaq, Simmons sent him direct messages on social media to confront him about his rant.

O’Neal detailed his DM conversation with Simmons on The Big Podcast with Shaq without fully airing out the details. Apparently Simmons was upset Shaq would criticize a fellow LSU Tiger. Shaq told Simmons he’s leaving his “man out there,” in reference to Joel Embiid, who has enjoyed an MVP-caliber season without Simmons on the floor.

“He got in my DM and said some things,” O’Neal said of Simmons. “ I said some things back.”

There are a few parallels between Shaq and Simmons other than them playing for the same college. Like Shaq, Simmons struggled immensely as a free throw shooter. Like Simmons, Shaq shared headline status with another teammate in Kobe Bryant, and it wasn’t always an easy relationship.

Shaq said he now looks back on his career and wishes he and Kobe never worried about whose team it was. It’s advice he thinks Simmons should take to heart when he thinks about his relationship with Embiid.

“I realized this after I left LA,” Shaq said on the podcast. “I don’t want to spend my whole career fighting for a useless title. ‘Shaq you the man. Shaq, this your team.’ In reality, what the f*** does all that mean? It don’t mean nothing. I could have won eight, nine championships with that man (Kobe Bryant) instead of us both arguing about whose team it is.”

“Don’t fight over useless titles,” Shaq said. “Fight for each other.”

Simmons still wants a trade from the 76ers despite being under contract for three years after this one. Philly is only willing to trade him for a package that nets them another star, and so far that hasn’t happened. The standoff continues as the trade deadline approaches.

The Simmons situation is layered. But after his DMs to Shaq, it sure seems like Simmons isn’t getting any better at handling criticism.