Ben Simmons on ‘not a rookie’ chants at TD Garden: ‘I don’t care’
Ben Simmons was subjected to taunts from Boston Celtics fans at TD Garden during Monday night’s Game 1 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series. But the Philadelphia 76ers star claimed after the team’s 117-101 loss that such antics do not and will not rattle him.
During the second half of Game 1, chants of “not of rookie” rained down upon Simmons.
#Celtics fans chant ‘NOT A ROOKIE’ at Ben Simmons pic.twitter.com/RjQak98p0w
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 1, 2018
The reference of course is to how Simmons is technically considered a rookie this season despite being selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. Simmons sat out the entire 2016-17 NBA season due to injury.
The situation has been a source of much debate, with Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, among the favorites for Rookie of the Year along with Simmons, has been having some fun with it as of late.
That said, Simmons insists the entire debate, much less taunting from opposing fans, will get under his skin.
“I don’t care. It doesn’t affect me at all,” said Simmons, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 40-plus minutes of action during the loss, via ESPN.
Meanwhile, when Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum took his spot at the free throw line, fans chanted, “He’s a rookie.”
Garden crowd with Simmons at the line: “Not. A. Rookie! Not. A. Rookie!” With Tatum at the line: “He’s. A. Rookie! He’s. A. Rookie!” pic.twitter.com/ZlW5TmI1ZP
— Eric Moskowitz (@GlobeMoskowitz) May 1, 2018
Tatum downplayed the entire situation after the game.
“At this point, I’m just focused on winning, not really matchups,” Tatum, the third-overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, said. “Just win. It’s really a team thing right now.”
Simmons obviously has bigger things on his plate with the Sixers being down 1-0 in the series than opposing fans taunting him. Whether or not it truly bothers him arguably is irrelevant. It’s all about how Simmons performs on the floor. Other issues are simply potential distractions from the task at hand.