Sportress of Blogitude

Ben Simmons has fiery response to ongoing Rookie of the Year debate

Ben Simmons handily won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award last season, and the ongoing debate whether he was the right choice continues to irk the young Philadelphia 76ers star.

The issue came up as a topic of discussion this week as the Sixers traveled to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz Thursday night, a team that boasts ROY runner-up Donovan Mitchell.

“It wasn’t a (expletive) race,” Simmons said to a Jazz beat reporter before the game when asked about the controversial vote, via ESPN. “Did you see the votes?”

Simmons of course is making reference to how he secured 90 out of 101 first-place votesĀ for Rookie of the Year. Some pundits questioned whether the honor was deserved given how the guard sat out his entire rookie season before winning the award in technically his second season.

All that said, given there was no shortage of trolling and taunting of Simmons leading up to last season’s vote — not to mention afterward as well — it was no surprise that Jazz fans at Vivint Smart Home Arena lustily booed the 76ers star from player introductions onward.

Simmons got the last laugh, however, as he finished the evening with a triple-double — 13 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists — while adding three steals and a blocked shot in the Sixers’ 114-97 victory.

“I love being able to come into an arena and hear boos and chants, whatever it is, see signs and come in here and win by 20,” Simmons said. “I mean, there’s nothing better than that.”

Simmons went on to rip Jazz fans for not letting go.

“I mean, they had a long time to prepare to have good things to say to me,” Simmons said regarding his only regular-season visit to Salt Lake City. “They’re still stuck in, like, Rookie of the Year stuff. Same old jokes. It was kind of disappointing. You have that long to prepare, and that’s all you have to say? Come on.”