Any athlete should be aware that they will be criticized, regardless of whether they are good or not. In the NBA a lot of people have gotten that.

For now, one of them is Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers. The 6-foot-11 cager has yet to play a game this season, demanding that he be traded.

The opinions on the Australian cager’s case are divided. Some are hard on the former top pick, one of whom is retired NBA center, Shaquille O’Neal.

“The Diesel” has four NBA titles under his belt but admits that things were not always easy when he was still actively playing. Perhaps the most notable flaw in Shaq’s game was his free-throw shooting, something that he managed to address a bit before his pro basketball career came to an end.

Regardless, O’Neal explains that criticism is only normal. But rather than do nothing, it is a sign for someone to address his flaws and find a way to resolve them.

"The difference between [Embiid] and his soft partner is he can take criticism without being a crybaby and he still wants to play," O’ Neal explained.

In the case of Simmons, often criticized for his outside shooting and decision-making, the comments that came after the Sixers got eliminated last season should be approached differently.

“I’ve been thinking about it. You’re missing the whole season because they asked your coach a question – can we win without you?" O’Neal quipped. "And your coach gave a funny answer. That should tell you, in the summertime, you need to work on your game."

Simmons holdout partly stems from the comments made by Sixers coach Doc Rivers on how he assesses the Aussie and what the future holds. But O’Neal, who added he has lost much respect for the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year gives a quote that Simmons may want to take by heart.

"Great players get criticized but the great players also step up to the criticism and perform," the 2000 NBA Most Valuable Player stated.

Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers speaks with Ben Simmons
Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers speaks with Ben Simmons Getty Images | Tim Nwachukwu

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