Ben Simmons has proven to be one of the most promising talents that the National Basketball Association has seen in a long time, with some of his fans going as far as to call him a “Little Magic Johnson.”
However, due to severe mental blocks and a back that’s constantly being thrown out, Simmons hasn’t been seen on the court in over a year and many fans are upset that he wasn’t playing any games or even showing up to support his team.
How Tall Is Ben Simmons?
Ben Simmons is 6’11” and serves as the Brooklyn Nets’ point guard and power forward.
However, it seems that this professional basketball player’s height has changed by two inches since being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers.
While Simmons was playing for the Sixers, his listed height was just below 6’10”.
Former 76ers player Jon Johnson believed that Simmons had actually grown since his draft day, partially due to Simmons’s young age and the workout sessions that Simmons had with LeBron James.
Johnson even took to Twitter to announce that he confirmed that Ben Simmons is just under seven feet tall.
Simmons’s coach Brett Brown had to publicly announce that Simmons had not grown two inches while he was with the Philadelphia team.
From a strategic standpoint, it would make more sense for a team to cover up Simmons’s height and allow them to realize just how tall he is when the opposing team sees him on the court.
However, displaying a taller height for himself may make Simmons a more desirable player when he decides to move onto the next team.
Thanks to his substantial height, the Brooklyn Nets got one of the largest guards in the National Basketball Association.
However, Ben Simmons’s promising career has hit a few snags due to injuries and mental health struggles.
Although Ben Simmons’s talent has allowed him to create fans among some of the best basketball players and best known celebrities, Simmons’s critics are just as passionate as his fans.
Critics of Simmons believe that he needs to get his head in the game and show some passion for his career, which can be easy for them to say while it’s Simmons dealing with stress so serious that it is affecting his physical health and ability to function.
The Games That Broke Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons got major heat from Philadelphia 76ers fans for the team’s failing gameplay.
Despite there being an entire team of players, Simmons was often taking the brunt of the Sixers’ fans’ wrath.
Fans had fallen in love with the All-Star play during the 2020–2021 National Basketball Association season.
Of the previous four seasons that Simmons had played, he was named an All-Star in three of those seasons.
The one qualm that his fans have always seemed to have with the young All-Star is his lack of competitiveness.
In professional basketball scout Jonathan Givony’s March 2016 report of Ben Simmons, he states that “Simmons’s lack of competitiveness in crucial games has raised questions about his character.”
The report also makes note of personal problems that Simmons was experiencing on and off the court, something stated even by those reportedly closest with Simmons at the time.
He also seemed to be shut down and close-minded to additional instruction or coaching at the time.
Although his professional career didn’t seem to be affected by the report, problems began to rise after the Philadelphia 76ers went up against the Atlanta Hawks.
Simmons was expected to lead his team to another victory, but the game went horribly and the 76ers went on to lose seven games in a row.
Fans of the 76ers were livid with the team’s performance, blaming young Simmons for the majority of problems that the team had.
By Game 7, head coach Doc Rivers and center Joey Embiid began throwing the blame onto Simmons.
Simmons decided that he needed off the discouraging team and was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
While practicing for his debut with the team, he injured his spine and has yet to be able to make his debut.
Mixing Chronic Back Injuries With Mental Health Problems
Ben Simmons’s back injury didn’t help his anxiety when attempting to return to the courts of the National Basketball Association to finally be able to play for the Brooklyn Nets.
This has left spectators curious if Simmons will ever return to the professional league.
At first, fans were suspicious of whether or not Simmons was actually injured.
Despite it going against his medical privacy, Simmons felt compelled to release the results of an MRI he had on his back on March 15th of 2022.
The MRI showed that Simmons was still suffering from a herniated disc in his lower back, which is why the pain seemed to keep coming back as soon as he would try to press himself while practicing.
On that same day, Simmons also had to have an epidural shot for his spinal pain.
Epidural steroid shots are commonly used as a nonsurgical way to manage sciatica and a variety of other lower back injuries.
While most fans are understanding when it comes to such a persistent back injury, many of his upset fans point to him not even cheering for his team from the sideline as a sign that he doesn’t have a passion for his career.
For Ben Simmons, the back injury is only part of his problem and one of the biggest hurdles that he is currently fighting with his mental health in relation to his career.
Imagine being at the prime age for your short-term career and you simply have to sit back and watch.
Simmons claims that the mental blocks he has when appearing in front of a stadium full of people still plague him.
The stress caused by the performance anxiety that Simmons feels causes him to get incredibly tense, adding insult to injury when it comes to his back problems.
How Simmons’s Teammates Have Felt About His Reactions
The majority of Ben Simmons’s teammates understand how back pain and mental health problems could pull him out of the game, but they still wish that Simmons would show a little more solidarity for his team.
Rather than seeing an empty spot on the bench or sidelines, the rest of the Brooklyn Nets want to see Simmons attending games in his uniform.
As the Brooklyn Nets were getting demolished by the Boston Celtics, Simmons wasn’t there to support the team.
Many of Simmons’s teammates are glad to have the young All-Star on the team, but they do want to see more commitment out of him.
Those closest to Simmons have encouraged him to make his return by only playing a few minutes at a time.
By appearing occasionally in games, his teammates felt that their point guard/power forward would better bond with the rest of the team and improve his reputation with the fans.
At the bare minimum, those closest to Simmons recommended that he at least wear his Brooklyn jersey instead of the expensive outfits he had been sporting to the game he actually attended.
While the Brooklyn Nets’ response to Simmons’s actions has been critical, they have been willing to give him much more benefit of the doubt than the Philadelphia 76ers ever did.
Their impatience with Simmons has played a massive role in Simmons’s anxiety over playing with his new team.
Due to Simmons’s apparent lack of commitment, the Brooklyn Nets are starting to get their own concerns and now the whole National Basketball Association waits in anticipation to see if Ben Simmons will recover in time to save his career.
Without being Ben Simmons, there is no way of truly knowing when he’ll recover and if he has truly put all of his effort into his career.
What His Critics Have Been Saying
Although some do believe in Ben Simmons’s talent, many of his critics have pointed to his seeming lack of effort or endurance.
Simmons’s naysayers often claim that his apathetic tendencies make them doubt that he has the spirit to be all that his fans originally saw in him.
One of Ben Simmons’s biggest critics has been Stephen A. Smith, who has gone as far as to say Simmons is “the weakest, most pathetic excuse for a professional athlete we have ever seen in not just American history but the history of sports.”
While the majority of those who saw what Smith said believed it was unnecessarily harsh and unwarranted, Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx was more than willing to call Smith out for his comments about the young athlete.
Foxx replied to what Smith had said on Twitter, stating that Simmons was just a young man trying to play basketball and that Smith unfairly attacked many other young athletes like Simmons.
The pair frequently talk about sports together, Smith claimed that he had spoken to Foxx on the phone about the matter.
Stephen A. Smith stated that he was willing to tell Foxx that the actor was wrong about Simmons and that Foxx jokingly knew nothing about sports because Foxx was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
By April of 2022, Ben Simmons began to gather more basketball fans and legends on his case when Reggie Miller made a post on Twitter stating that the Brooklyn Nets had no chance of winning if Simmons didn’t “#ManUp.”
This was followed by Charles Barkley stating that he didn’t believe that Simmons would return to professional basketball.
Shaquille O’Neal felt that Simmons should try to press himself if he was going to publicly state that he would return rather than keeping fans’ hopes up.
Those Who Have Supported The Young All-Star
Ben Simmons’s critics have been incredibly vocal about this displeasure with the young All-Star’s lack of performance, but his supporters have risen to the occasion in an attempt to offer Simmons just as much love as he’s getting in hate.
For some former players and those who once struggled with their own health problems, they want to help the young athlete learn the lessons they did at a much faster rate.
Kevin Love was quick to come to the defense of Ben Simmons when fans began to accuse Simmons of “faking it.”
Love, who has a history of having panic attacks on the court, has been vocal about his own mental health struggles.
In 2018, Love had written a piece for The Players Tribune called “Everyone Is Going Through Something,” in which he discussed why mental health should be taken more seriously in the National Basketball Association and other professional sports leagues.
Kevin Love knew that Ben Simmons had the ability to recover from both his physical and mental ailments, stating that his friend had been bombarded with hate and growing in his mental health journey each time they spoke.
Kyrie Irving has voiced his support for his fellow Brooklyn Nets teammate.
Irving believed that Simmons shouldn’t press himself to come back to the court, but he also believed that Simmons would be the one who would carry their team to victory whenever Simmons decides to return.
Former Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson was quick to point out the intense level of pressure and heat that Sixers fans are known for dishing out.
Having hundreds, if not thousands, of people telling you that you let your entire team down would be enough to damage the mental health of any athlete, especially someone as young as Ben Simmons.
How Is Ben Simmons Doing Now?
In April of 2022, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash announced that there would be a strong possibility that Ben Simmons would be returning to the National Basketball Association to make his debut with the Nets soon.
Simmons was recently cleared for contact drills and would soon begin practicing in 4-on-4 sessions.
This will allow him to finally get to know his team better and will hopefully lead to the reignition of his passion for basketball.
It can be easy to dismiss the struggles that Ben Simmons has experienced so early into his career, with many critics wondering why he doesn’t just pay his way to healing.
As Kevin Love has pointed out in the past, it can take a long time to heal properly from physical and mental damage.
The key to Simmons’s success is relying on his support system and doing his best to prove to the critics that he is worthy of his position in the National Basketball Association.
Only time will tell if Simmons will come back from this break and become the player everyone believes he can be.