By Theodore N. Beitchman
Daniel Patrick Moynihan was not a big NBA fan.
The late New York senator was 6-5, which may have made him a small forward at Tufts or the London School of Economics.
He was famous for a lot of things, especially quotes, because he was very smart and not ashamed to let you know.
Here’s one that has become often-quoted ever since Donald Trump became president:
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to his own facts.”
Which brings me to the Inky’s Marcus Hayes, a typist who is often an arsonist.
His latest conflagration just appeared online with the headline:
BEN SIMMONS CAN SAVE HIS SIXERS CAREER BY BEATING THE HAWKS WITH NO JOEL EMBIID
Hayes probably did not write this headline, but whomever did should be sent to cancel culture jail for a day or two.
Because it implies that Simmons Sixers career is in need of saving.
Even though he is the second-best player on the team who has pissed off a slice of folks who believe he would be much better if he shot the ball more.
I think he should shoot the ball more too,
But Ben Simmons evidently does not.
He is a world-class-defender, passer and space-eater, and without him the Sixers would be nowhere instead of the No. 1 seed in the East who have already dispatched the Wiz in 5 and will take on the massively overrated Hawks starting tomorrow at the Wells.
Or maybe Hayes actually believes what was written in the headline, much as he did in 2017 when he said on TV, “Ersan Ilyasova is the best basketball player on the Sixers,” who at the time also had Embiid and Simmons. Hayes added, “And Ilyasova may be the best player the Sixers have had since Thaddeus Young.”
Hayes is certainly entitled to his opinion, but here are the facts.
Ben Simmons ia a borderline great NBA player who would be completely great if he had a jumper in his quiver.
He’s not going anywhere, with the possible exception of Springfield, and if the Sixers trade him they better get Devin Booker or Ja Morant in return.
Here’s a morself of what Hayes wrote:
This is Ben Simmons’ big chance. This is the series that will cement his status. All Star, or also-ran? The Leader or the led?
Joel Embiid’s torn right meniscus has cleared the stage for Simmons. A knee injury to a huge star has left a void; this is Ben Simmons’ Nick Foles moment. The spotlight has found him.
When the curtain rises Sunday afternoon on this second-round series against the No. 5 seed Atlanta Hawks, it will fix him in an unrelenting glare, and it will not leave him for a second. This is the cost of stardom. This is the price of fame. When you make $30.5 million, the burden of winning falls on you.
Are you worth it?
These moments provide those answers.
If Ben Simmons leads the top-seeded Sixers past the Hawks, then yes, his legacy in Philadelphia will be burnished — but, more significant, his legacy will continue to be built in Philadelphia. If he plays this week as he played in Game 5, when Triple-Double Ben made the Wizards disappear, he will ascend.
But if Ben Simmons proves unable to beat the Hawks, and if he does so in a fashion that can be at all interpreted as timid — if he’s Five Shot Ben, as he was in the Sixers’ Game 4 loss — then the Ben Simmons Story will probably continue elsewhere.