By now, you’ve seen the Danny Green interview on John Clark’s podcast, “Takeoff” that has set the internet ablaze. Green was critical of Sixers fans and their support, or lack thereof, for much maligned star, Ben Simmons.
we cheered him at the free throw line like he was dying https://t.co/m6ZYmIV9v7 pic.twitter.com/LJp0ra73Hw
— Legs (@legsanity) July 8, 2021
Danny Green is categorically wrong about the fans relationship with Ben Simmons. But, he just may have a point with the fans relationship with Philly athletes in general.
Philadelphia fans treat Philadelphia sports teams like a little brother. WE can make fun of them as much as WE want. But as soon as an outsider jumps in, we’ll protect them like big brothers should. When Gritty was introduced, Philly fans found the thing to be grotesque. But as soon as the Pittsburgh Penguins jumped in on making fun of the big orange creature, we did an about face and made Gritty a citywide folk hero.
That’s where we were at with Ben Simmons as well. After a 1 point playoff contest his rookie season up in Boston, jokes rang off on the internet and never ceased. Every other fan base piled on, even fans of perpetual lottery teams. It caused the majority of the Sixers fan base to defend him ad nauseam. Through every missed free throw, through every deferred three point attempt. There is still value in Simmons’ game, we all saw it and believed in it. Yet here we are, bounced from the playoffs again because Ben Simmons came up small in a conference semi-finals series.
Danny Green isn’t right about Ben Simmons. Contrary to Green’s belief, fans have gone out of their way to defend the 24 year old point forward.
But Green may be right about Philly fans in general. There is a portion, a loud portion, of this fan base who seems to be waiting to pounce on negativity at a moments notice. Their boos for a Rhys Hoskins strike out are louder than the cheers for his home runs. When a lead starts to slip, most fan bases cheer to reinvigorate the arena. Our fan base starts booing.
It took a record $330 million to convince a star to come play here. Not drafted here, or traded here. Like actually willingly show up and play in Philadelphia. Fans booed him within month two of a 13 year contract. They booed Joel Embiid last year after he wanted to team up with Jimmy Butler (who also left here after 5 months). They booed the Eagles in the first half of one possession game on Monday Night Football.
When Carson Wentz left, they bullied Giovanni, an 11 year old with a disability for still supporting Wentz. And in a WIP poll, fans voted that they were more willing to support Odubel Herrera, who had a recent domestic abuse case, than Wentz. Because Wentz didn’t want to play here anymore? Instead of moving on, supporting the team and supporting Jalen Hurts in a fashion Danny Green suggested, the fans dwelled on the negatives with the former quarterback.
You think this strategy shows toughness and passion, but the athletes who play here or PLAYED here keep coming out and saying they find it counterproductive to success.
At what point do we say we’re in the wrong as fans? It’s DEFINITELY not with Ben Simmons. If anything, fans should take a similar approach with all Philly athletes that they took with Ben. Remember his “shooting coach” in the stands showing him how to make free throws? More of that energy please.
But when Danny Green, a 3x time NBA champion with three different NBA teams states his opinion of our fan base, maybe the response shouldn’t be he’s just “mentally soft”.
Danny Green’s comments on fans and Ben Simmons sum up the Sixers perfectly: Mentally soft and can’t handle any adversity.
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) July 8, 2021
Philadelphia cannot keep taking the approach of “everyone is wrong, except for me”.