Ben Simmons on his relationship with Joel Embiid: ‘I don’t talk to Jo…we never really spoke’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons recently revealed that he and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid never really had much of a relationship during their time together in Philadelphia.

In an interview with ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Simmons explained his relationship with Embiid, who is one of the NBA’s best players.

“I don’t talk to Jo,” Simmons said. “We never really spoke.”

Simmons went on to explain that people can’t force a friendship, and while he has no bad feelings toward Embiid, they just never really became close during their time in Philly.

“I don’t think there was really a relationship there,” Simmons said. “Like in terms of a friendship? You can try as hard as you want to try to be close to somebody, be their friend, whatever it is, but everyone is different as people, so for me, it’s never personal. I don’t have any anger or hate towards him. He is who he is and I am who I am. And we’ve got our personal lives. And work is basketball, so in that moment, my goal is to win and I got to win with Jo. He’s a great player, we just didn’t get it done.”

Simmons, a three-time All-Star, had a lot of success playing with Embiid, but the two players were never able to lead the Sixers to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

Prior to Simmons being traded to Brooklyn in the deal for James Harden last season, Embiid made his feelings known about the three-time All-Star not suiting up for the team.

“At the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody,” Embiid said at the time. “We get paid for just on the court, go out, play hard, win some games. That’s all we get paid for. We don’t get paid to come out here and try to babysit somebody.”

Even though Simmons and Embiid are two excellent players, there were certain things about their styles of play that didn’t exactly work in Philadelphia. Embiid, a dominant post player who can also stretch the floor, needed to be surrounded by more players who could make jump shots and extend defenses.

Simmons, a bigger guard, has never really been comfortable shooting the ball from beyond the arc, limiting his team’s offensive ceiling.

Now, both players are looking to lead their respective teams to a top spot in the Eastern Conference.

It may not come as a surprise to some that Embiid and Simmons weren’t close, but it’s at least good to know that Simmons doesn’t have any bad feelings toward his former teammate now that they are in different places.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.