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Ben Simmons on viral video of air ball at PITP: ‘It comes with being Ben Simmons right now’

NBA: Brooklyn Nets-Practice in the Park Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been making the rounds since the Nets Practice in the Park on Sunday, a video of Ben Simmons firing up an airball while shooting around (and prior to his winning the Nets’ knockout tournament!)

It was as the video shows a half-hearted toss, but that didn’t stop the spread of the video. ESPN’s NBA Today even did a remarkably balanced five-minute segment on it...

So before Wednesday’s game, he was asked about it.

“It finds me all the time,” Simmons joked to ESPN’s Nick Friedell prior to the Nets-Bucks game. “And it doesn’t f---ing stop. Sometimes I’m even sick of it, but then I’m like, ‘OK, I’m Ben Simmons, you know? It comes with being Ben Simmons right now.’

“Even the other day there was a clip of me airballing a shot at the park. Meanwhile, like 10 guys airballed multiple shots. So it’s like people will find one clip and try to make it that everything — like Ben can’t do [this or that]. Like come on man, you think I’m just airballing every shot? It’s not true. But it comes with it, and you got to have tough skin and I realize that, but nah, I can’t take everything personally. It’s social media.”

Simmons was also was philosophical about the situation. Why he feels he deals with so much outrage from fans, Friedell asked.

“Because people know what I can do, what I’m capable of” Simmons said. “I believe that’s what it is. Like if I was somebody that wasn’t capable of doing certain things, I don’t think people would be on my ass as much. And I don’t mind it because it kind of motivates me in a way. Obviously, sometimes it’s a lot for anybody to deal with that, but I look at it a little bit like a respect thing, in a way.

“Because if that wasn’t the case then I wouldn’t have ... there would be no upside to me doing something well. If I come out and play a great game then you can’t say anything, you know? But it’s a part of it. That’s why it’s kind of cool being on a team with these two guys (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving) because they’ve been through different things in their careers, where they can kind of relate, because their names always— something’s going on with everybody’s name here. I take it for what it is.”

Irving offered Simmons some advice, per Friedell.

“I’m no child on the Internet anymore,” Irving told ESPN. “I grew up in the Internet days, I think you can appreciate that of just when technology hit the boom and we didn’t expect that social media would take over the whole entire platform basis of where we get everything. It is a one-place shop where you are legitimately taking your eyes shopping on whatever the algorithm throws your way. So, if we think about it on that level, I think the nerds can appreciate that, how much that changes us all.”

Irving and Durant along with Steve Nash have also in recent days defended Simmons, offering positive commentary on what he can bring to the Nets.

Meanwhile, Friedell also tweeted out of Nash’s pregame comments...