Nets' Simmons still has love for Philly: 'Playing there was incredible'

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Ben Simmons' tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers didn't end on the best of terms, but the Brooklyn Nets guard still has a lot of love for the city where he began his NBA career.

"Philly is obviously a sports city. And my experience playing there was incredible," Simmons said during a recent appearance on "The Old Man and The Three" podcast with former teammate JJ Reddick. "Like, for the most part, it was incredible. I had a great time. The fans are unbelievable. I still have an apartment there ... I feel like I'm a part of Philly still."

Simmons added: "It's just unique. Even being in Brooklyn now, it's completely different. This is a different experience for me. And, you know, I value that time I did spend in Philly because I was able to learn and grow in that city, and I got friends for life there. My brother lives there. I got family there. So yeah, Philly's great. I think people have like a thought that I think that I hate it."

Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 boards, 7.7 assists, and 1.7 steals over 275 appearances with the 76ers. The former No. 1 overall pick earned three All-Star nods, two NBA All-Defensive first-team selections, and Rookie of the Year honors during his tenure in the City of Brotherly Love.

Despite a collection of accolades and a versatile skill set, Simmons' inability to space the floor wasn't an ideal fit alongside co-star Joel Embiid. He notably struggled in the team's second-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks in 2021, passing up an open dunk late in the 76ers' season-ending Game 7 loss.

Simmons requested a trade prior to the 2021-22 campaign and refused to suit up for Philadelphia, citing mental health as his reason for holding out.

Brooklyn acquired Simmons at the trade deadline in a blockbuster deal involving James Harden. However, Simmons didn't play a game for his new club due to a lingering back injury. He underwent surgery for the ailment in May and is expected to be ready for training camp.

Nets' Simmons still has love for Philly: 'Playing there was incredible'
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