Mental Health Problems Versus Mental Fortitude Problems: Shaquille O’Neal Wants Ben Simmons to Know There’s a Difference

The social media mosh pit has been locked in and extremely opinionated over the many underlying stories within the James Harden-Ben Simmons trade.

At the heart of the controversy has been the topic of mental health which triggers an avalanche of emotions and opinions from across the spectrum, especially when it centers on a polarizing figure such as Ben10. 

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Simmons claimed to have mental health issues in the aftermath of his playoff fallout with Philly fans and his teammates. The beating he took on social media and what he perceived as an unwillingness of the franchise to come to his defense inspired his agent Rich Paul to set his Philly departure in motion and end all on court activities for Simmons until a trade was reached.  

In a press conference on Tuesday, Simmons says the main source of his troubles were unrelated to basketball and he’s in a better space. But his return to the court with his new team in Brooklyn is still unscheduled as he works out his mental health issues.

There have been more than a few talking heads, players, fans and casual sports consumers who have challenged the validity of Simmons’ mental health claims. Shaquille O’ Neal is one of those media members who is not letting Simmons off the hook that easily.  

On “Inside the NBA” on Tuesday night, Shaq let it be known how he felt about the Simmons ordeal, by breaking down the difference between mental health and mental fortitude.

As a superstar, as a professional NBA player, we don’t always get our way. The problem started when Doc made the comment, he was upset, backlash, and then the mental health thing came in. There’s a difference between mental health and mental fortitude. You know, I am not comparing him to me, but you don’t think I have heard ‘We can’t win with Shaq’? You don’t think I’ve heard ‘Shaq’s not worth $120M’? You don’t think I heard ‘Don’t throw it to Shaq, D-Wade, you shoot’? I’ve heard it all, and what makes us great is we learn how to persevere around all of that.

“Not gonna get into the mental health thing because I was in L.A. yesterday, and I’ve seen real mental health. How many homeless people out there and you just talk to them and like they have problems that we don’t know about. I wish him well … But the question is, if this problem arises again what are you going to do? You don’t think I get emails and posts and death threats? I done heard it all. I got booed before. I just wish if this situation ever comes around that he has a tough enough mental fortitude to be able to get through it.”

This isn’t Shaq’s first tough love take for Simmons. Last month, he called Simmons soft, which prompted Ben to end up in Shaq’s DM’s, and, according to Shaq, Simmons “wasn’t happy.”

To find out more about Ben Simmons, how he’s adjusting to a new team and the narrative surrounding his mental health, click here.

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