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Kevin Durant believes that Ben Simmons is ready to face the Philadelphia crowd with the Brooklyn Nets because he understands the nature of hecklers.
If Ben Simmons wasn’t injured, March 10 would mark his return to the Wells Fargo Arena court to face the 76ers. While it’s uncertain exactly when Simmons will be able to play, he will travel to Philadelphia with the Brooklyn Nets and face his former crowd.
It’s a lot to take in, as Philly fans aren’t thrilled with the way he left the team, but Nets teammate Kevin Durant believes Simmons is ready to handle anything the crowd throws his way.
Kevin Durant believes Ben Simmons understands that heckling comes with the NBA job
While Durant makes a sweeping generalization about the futility of life for average basketball fans, from a player perspective, it’s important to understand that the vitriol hurled at athletes doesn’t always have to do with their game.
For example, knowing that Russell Westbrook and his wife are fielding death threats because Westbrook’s season has been disappointing proves that some sports fans do direct unfounded anger towards their favorite sports teams. Onlookers may want their favorite players to do better, but screaming at them during a game or harassing them afterward accomplishes nothing.
Overall, the sports scene isn’t happy with the way the Simmons saga dragged out all season, and it would be easy to yell obscenities at him and make him feel unwelcome. As immature as that is to do, it is a part of sports, and Simmons and Durant are all too aware of that. Durant is famous for getting into scuffles with fans and onlookers, from fighting with Michael Rapoport in Twitter DMs to coldly rejecting a Skip Bayless compliment.
As Westbrook has recently proven, there are certainly sports fans who take it too far and subtract from the game with their antics, but KD isn’t one who’s going to phrase that sentiment very kindly. Then again, neither did teammate Kyrie Irving when talking about Celtics fans.