While Ben Simmons traveled with the Brooklyn Nets for their late-season matchup against Philly last season, Wednesday officially marked his first time suiting up as an opponent.
To no surprise, the three-time All-Star was met with an extremely hostile crowd that showered him with boos and (surely) curse words. Simmons spent his final year as a member of the 76ers organization refusing to step on the court after a disastrous playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks to end the 2020-21 campaign. Eventually, the front office was able to deal him as part of a package for the equally-as-dramatic James Harden, and now the 26-year-old is trying to reinvent himself on a star-studded Nets team.
His start to the season has been … well … poor. He’s averaging just 8.6 points, 6.1 assists, and 6.8 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per game. With that being the case, expectations were somewhat low for Simmons heading into his first game against his old squad. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t make headlines.
Despite going on to lose 115-106 to an Embiid-Harden-Maxey-less Philly squad, Simmons didn’t hesitate to – awkwardly – let the crowd hear it. Not only did he shush fans after a putback layup, but he went on to channel the GOAT.
Indeed, after heading to the free throw line and nailing both freebies, Simmons turned to the crowd and seemingly did the famous Jordan Shrug.
Yes, after some freakin’ free throws.
Look, I know there is a lot of history between Simmons and stinking it up at the charity stripe. But I think the rules of the Jordan Shrug state that doing it after a free throw is strictly prohibited. Not to mention, he whipped this out in the 1st quarter! And these marked his first points of the night! Like … are you serious, dude?
Anyway, Simmons went on to finish with a well-rounded 11 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks in the Nets’ loss. I guess we’ll see if he has more iconic celebrations in store when the Nets head back to Philly on Jan. 25.