Philadelphia 76ers swingman Tobias Harris came to the defence of Ben Simmons after the guard met with his teammates for the first time since his holdout. After the 2020/2021 season ended, Simmons requested a trade from the Sixers.
Simmons held out of training camp but returned to the team late last week. Simmons met with the Sixers on Friday and told them that mentally he's not ready to play yet. "I think it's obviously a good start," Harris said.
"But as I said, at this time we have to respect his privacy, his space, and we've got to be there for him, with what he's going through and this process. "It's easy to look at something on the surface and come to assumptions on a lot of things, especially athletes -- in general in this space we're depicted as superhumans, and you're not really supposed to have feelings or go through anything.
So I think we just have to really understand he's a human first, and if he's going through something at times we have to respect that and go through that as a team, organization, fans, all the way down the line. "Because when he's in here putting on a show and helping us get wins, everybody is cheering and praising, but we live in a 'What have you done for me lately?' type world, but when that's not the case it's easy to turn around.
So at this time he needs more support. I just think we have to be there for him as a team, and I relayed that to the group. And I hope that message is loud and clear to the fans and everybody around the organization, and honestly, you guys, as well."
Joel Embiid called for support of Simmons
The Sixers suffered a 114-109 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at home but Embiid was happy to have the fans back and he called for them to support Simmons. "It's good to have you back!" Embiid said, receiving another roar from the adoring crowd after waiting for a loud chorus of "M-V-P!" chants to die down before starting to speak.
"On behalf of my teammates, the organization and myself, I just want to say thank you for your support for all these years," he said. "A lot has happened the last few months and I hope you guys continue to support us and our teammate Ben, because he's still our brother. Let's go!"