"The Weakest, Most Pathetic Excuse For A Professional Athlete!": NBA Players & Observers Ripping Ben Simmons

NBA Hall of Famers and Insiders alike are taking Ben Simmons to task after he opted out of playing in the Brooklyn Nets' do-or-die Game 4 tonight, after originally announcing on the weekend that he would be playing. Simmons now says no, he has 'back soreness' and can't play.

ESPN's NBA Insider Brian Windhorst reports that the people in the Brooklyn Nets' organization "are exasperated with this saga... I got the feeling that (they are) waving a white flag."

Shaquille O'Neal called it "a punk move"; Charles Barkley says "when the players don't respect you, that's a big deal... Ben is getting to the point now where his teammates are like 'yo, does this dude wanna play basketball?'"

As for Simmons' claim that his back hurts, Barkley pointed to Toronto Raptors' rookie of the year Scottie Barnes, who came back and played in his team's Game 4 less than a week after suffering a gruesome ankle sprain under the full weight of Joel Embiid's 280 pounds. "I was so impressed with Scottie Barnes. That boy was out there on one leg... 'I gotta try and help my team.'"  

Another former NBA player, and now ESPN analyst Tim Legler said "After what happened to Ben Simmons last year in Atlanta... that was an epic meltdown of a player... He was exposed to everyone for his frailties, for the fragile psyche that he has. Now he shows up in Brooklyn after all the mess they went through with Harden... and at no point has he come close to stepping on the court?!... The guy's lost all credibility."  

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith took it one step further: "Ben Simmons might also be the weakest, most pathetic excuse for a professional athlete we have ever seen! Not just in American history, but the history of sport!... He's a disgrace!" He went on urge super-agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sport to get rid of Simmons. "It's bad for business!... This dude is stealing money."

And so, unless the Brooklyn Nets stage a miraculous comeback without him, the Ben Simmons Saga will now apparently carry on into the offseason. With undoubtedly a whole new set of trade rumors.