• Shaquille O'Neal bares that Ben Simmons directly messaged him to complain about his previous comments
  • O'Neal criticized Simmons on "Inside the NBA" that led to the most recent incident
  • Simmons reportedly had chances to fix the situation with the 76ers in the offseason

Shaquille O’Neal is known in the sports world for not holding back on his words when he knows they matter and has recently drawn the ire of sidelined Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons.

In a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” O’Neal revealed that Simmons sent him a direct message over Instagram about the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s comments about him.

“He's [Ben Simmons] acting like a baby and he kind of got in my DMs [direct messages]. He said some things and I said some things back. All I said was that you’re leaving your man [Joel Embiid] 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 that because that’s not cool,” O’Neal recalled.

O’Neal later added that Simmons was mad at him because them sharing an alma matter in Louisiana State University (LSU) should mean that the NBA Hall of Famer would always have his back.

The root cause of the issue, also disclosed by O’Neal, was his comments on the January 27 episode of “Inside the NBA” where he tore apart Simmons on live television by comparing how Sixers teammate Joel Embiid took his criticism and used it as a guide instead of reacting like the All-Star guard did.

“The difference between him [Joel Embiid] and his soft partner [Ben Simmons] is he can take criticism without being a crybaby. Me and Charles [Barkley] have been on him, we stayed on him, told him to his face what he needed to do. That’s why I like him and respect him. The other guy [Ben Simmons] I don’t respect. Great players get criticized but great players also step up to the criticism and perform. So, this other guy [Ben Simmons] I don’t respect him. I would get rid of him,” O’Neal harshly explained.

O’Neal’s frustration with Simmons stems from the fact that the Sixers star chose to sit out the season and demand a trade due to his falling out with the organization following their seven-game loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

However, it was reported earlier in the week that Simmons had multiple opportunities to mend the relationship during the offseason had the 25-year-old from Australia been willing to put aside his feelings.

O’Neal also said during the podcast that he had spoken with the Sixers beforehand and told them to come together despite their differences and work their way towards winning titles instead of arguing who the face of the franchise is.

The NBA legend was clearly referencing his storied rivalry with then-Lakers co-star Kobe Bryant that subsequently led him to join the Miami Heat despite winning three titles together.

“He went to LSU, I care about him [Ben Simmons] and I want to see him succeed. I always want to see these young brothers succeed,” O’Neal said in closing.