76ers fans trolled Ben Simmons with Mister Softee t-shirts on his return to Philadelphia recently with the Brooklyn Nets.
Ben Simmons made his long-awaited return to Philadelphia on Tuesday (22 November) night as the Brooklyn Nets took on the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.
It was Simmons’ first game played in the city since Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals – when he infamously passed up a wide open dunk over Trae Young.
Simmons spent four seasons playing for the 76ers after the franchise drafted him out of LSU with the No.1 overall pick in 2016. The Australian averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists, and was voted an All-Star on three occasions during his time there.
However, the relationship turned sour in 2021 and he was eventually traded to the Nets in a deal that saw James Harden go the other way.
His reception on his return to Philly
It was always going to be a hostile environment in Philly on Tuesday evening, even without James Harden, Joel Embiid, and Tyrese Maxey on the floor for the 76ers.
Before the game Simmons was seen signing autographs for young Philly fans and posing for selfies, indicating that the hostility was perhaps a tad overblown:
As expected, Simmons was booed during the player introductions, although the overall atmosphere wasn’t as toxic as many anticipated.
76ers fans troll Ben Simmons with Mister Softee t-shirt
Simmons was still jeered through most of the game. Virtually every touch of the ball was met with a chorus of boos, especially when he was at the free-throw line.
Evidently many 76ers fans still feel antipathy for Simmons, with one fan trolling Ben Simmons with a Mister Softee t-shirt.
Footage of the fan in the t-shirt was broadcast on TNT and quickly went viral. The t-shirt showed Ben Simmons’ face with the logo of the famous ice cream truck brand, referencing the perceived ‘soft’ nature he displayed in Philadelphia.
Simmons ‘in a good place’ despite the loss
Simmons has been playing pretty well recently. He had a near triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds vs Philly, but the Nets still lost 115-106.
He showed glimpses of his best basketball, but still lacked aggression down the stretch and never looked comfortable at the free-throw line.
However, after the game he told reporters that, “I feel like I’m in a good place.” He added, “I’m happy, I’m doing what I love. So to be out there and have that experience was amazing. Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted. It’s frustrating to lose a game like that, but I think it’s a good step forward.”
He also seemed pretty unfazed by his reception, joking that he ‘thought it would be louder.’