Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons Serious About Wanting Virtual Fans to Boo 76ers
When a crowd boos a sports team, it's typically because they are the visiting squad that did something to aggravate the fans in attendance. In Philly, there are no boundaries with booing, though. Anybody can get it. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers know this very well.
While they don't precisely enjoy being booed by their own fans -- in a way they embrace it. The two All-Stars like to take it as constructive criticism, and it motivates them to want to do better. Unfortunately, when the season restarts on Saturday, Embiid, Simmons, and the Sixers will miss the tough love.
Being that the COVID-19 pandemic is still in effect, and all NBA teams are down in Orlando, Florida, playing in the same bubble, no fans are actually able to attend the games physically. Thanks to technology, though, the NBA has made it possible for virtual fans to be in attendance to make the games feel as real as possible.
But if the NBA really wants to make the 76ers feel at home, then they have to listen to Philly's two All-Stars and allow the virtual fans to boo the team if they begin to fall behind. "We need some boos in here," said Joel Embiid on the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast this week.
"When we're home, and people start, fans start booing us, we're like, 'Oh, we gotta pick it up, it's not good, we don't want to hear it," Embiid continued. "So I gotta play hard; I gotta make plays.' So when we're in the bubble and if we're down, if we're not playing hard, like, we need them to put sounds of boos from Philly fans here in the bubble so we can get it going."
A week ago, following the Sixers' first scrimmage game against Memphis, Ben Simmons mentioned the same idea. "They better put some boos in there for us," Simmons stated. "If we're not playing hard, we want to hear those boos. You can't put this here and not have the fans screaming and kind of replicate Sixers fans -- we're one of a kind."
Embiid and Simmons' need for the boos down in Orlando isn't just telling fans and the media what they want to hear, either. While on the RTRS podcast, Embiid revealed that Simmons, the Sixers' Vice President of Communications, and himself seriously had a conversation suggesting the idea that booing should be involved with Sixers home games. Whether the NBA will actually make it happen or not remains to be seen. Soon, we will find out if the Philly boobirds will take over Orlando or not as the season resumes on Saturday.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_