Shaquille O'Neal and Ben Simmons made headlines on Thursday when the Big Diesel claimed the disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star reached out to him via DM and said some things Shaq refused to discuss.
The 4x NBA champion recently praised Joel Embiid while criticizing Simmons, which allegedly didn't sit well with the Australian playmaker, who sent big messages to O'Neal on social media.
"He’s acting like a baby. He kind of got in my DM and said some things and I said some things back. I can’t [reveal what he said]. I can’t do that. All I said is ‘You’re leaving your man out there and you need to play.’ That’s all I said. Then he said some things but I’m not going to elaborate on what he said because that’s not cool. He’s probably mad. He’s mad because I’m his LSU brother, and I am. I’m still his brother.”
That wasn't the end of that situation. O'Neal elaborated on that during a recent edition of TNT's Inside the NBA. The former Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat player explained why he says the things he says about Simmons and other players, stating that that was the way he became great and wants to do the same for the young generations.
“We criticized them because we got criticized. And for the great ones, the great ones step up to criticism.”
“Imma back off as an LSU brother, imma back off. I wish him well. I wish he makes the best decision for him. We both went to LSU, we both have been in the NBA. We talk smack, we do that, we argue. Like when I say something, you have permission to come back.”
Shaq said he respects Simmons and wouldn't divulge what the player said to him, clarifying that it's nothing personal between him and the 25-year-old.
“Coz with me it ain’t personal… If you don’t like it, holler at me. He hollered… He told me something today and I have to be sensitive with what he said… I’m gonna respect him.”
O'Neal has criticized other players before, including Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but things have reached a different with Simmons. Everybody has something to say about the Australian and Shaq isn't the exception.
It's unclear when we'll see him on the court again, but all these comments don't make things easier for the players. The Sixers want to recover him or get the maximum return for the player, but it remains to be seen what team is willing to do business with Daryl Morey and Elton Brand.