After a wild and chaotic breakup with the 76ers, the NBA media launched a vicious attack against young star Ben Simmons, who was demonized for the crime of turning his back on his team.
Even long after landing with a new team, Ben's shattered and damaged reputation impacted how fans viewed his legacy and career. Apparently, those feelings were felt by some within the media, too, who proceeded to generate all kinds of stories about the All-Star swingman.
During the height of his crisis with the Nets last season, there was even a report that Simmons had left the group chat in response to being questioned about his availability.
They're having a team chat before Game 4, thinking he's going to play against the Celtics. From what I'm told, Ben just left the chat. They asked him "Are you going to play?". Ben left the chat. Like he didn't even answer the question, just left the chat.
KD's like "This is what I signed up for? This is who I'm playing with?"
Ben Simmons Breaks The Silence On The Report Of Him Leaving Nets Group Chat Before Playoff Game
The report has been challenged multiple times since it first came to light, but Simmons himself addressed the issue in a chat with JJ Redick on 'The Old Man & The Three.'
"That's what I hate about the internet, these f**king people just make anything up and it just gets taken too far. But no, I didn't leave the group chat. So, I actually texted Patty about that. I was like 'yo, did I leave a group chat? Like, I'm so confused.' He's like 'bro, no one even said anything in the group chat for like a month. There was nobody even taking in the chat when we got to the playoffs. So no, I didn't leave the group chat.'"
Clearly, Ben isn't willing to give any validation to those rumors. In a season of mayhem and turmoil, it makes sense that he would want to distance himself from a story like that, especially with a new season right around the corner. There's nothing to verify that anything about the tale is even true.
Still, that doesn't mean Ben's arrival in Brooklyn has been completely seamless. Without a single game played, he still has a lot of work to do before he can even start the process of winning back over the community.
Step one is to squash any misconceptions about his current standing with the club.