Over the years, Ben Simmons has become a polarizing figure in Philadelphia. Fans remain divided in their opinions of the 24-year-old All-Star. The Sixers' first-round series against the Wizards had this divide on full display.
Despite averaging just shy of a triple-double, Simmons was on the wrong end of criticism the entire series. This started in game one when Simmons posted 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a win. Critics spent the next 48 hours focusing on Simmons only scoring six points in the matchup.
Fast forward to game four, and the backlash returned. Washington resorted to "hack-a-Ben" tactics, and many attributed that to the Sixers failing to complete the sweep.
Simmons got back in everyone's good graces after game five on Wednesday night. He filled in at center with Joel Embiid out and dropped a triple-double in the series clincher.
After securing a first-round series win, Simmons took to Instagram. It's clear he heard all the outside noise and decided to have some fun with it. He posted a picture of himself from game five with the caption "they love me. they love me not. they love me. they love me not" with a flower emoji.
Simmons has always kept his focus on winning, not getting stats. All the outside noise has not changed his outlook on his game or the way he elevates the Sixers. Even more so, he has been able to have fun with fans over it.
Philadelphia is a tough town to play in. If people aren't a fan of the way you play, they will make sure you hear them.
At the end of the day Simmons knows the Philly faithful want him to succeed. His fun on social media shows that the love is reciprocated.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.