It Sounds Like Ben Simmons Wants to Come Back to Philly. No Thanks.

Plus, local Bruce Springsteen fans will have to wait a long, long time to see him. Oh well.

Ben Simmons, back when he played for the Philadelphia Sixers

Former Sixers player Ben Simmons, before we kicked his ass out of the city (Getty Images)

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It Sounds Like Ben Simmons Wants to Come Back to Philly. No Thanks.

I rarely pay attention to basketball news outside of basketball season, much like I rarely pay attention to Eagles news until the team is actually playing a damn game — in the regular season. Pre-season? Zzzzzz.

But this morning, some basketball buzz did catch my attention. And it’s this: It sounds like Ben Simmons wants to come back to the Sixers.

In a way-too-long interview with an ESPN reporter (seriously, do you people not have editors?), Simmons, who currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets, revealed that if he ever gets traded again, he wants to return to Philly to play for the Sixers.

Ahem, no. Sorry, Ben.

Just two years ago, after you somehow managed to completely obliterate the Sixers season, we bestowed upon you a Worst of Philly Award, an “honor” we don’t hand out without a lot of thought and consideration. We placed you in the ranks of Wawa parking lots, the “grilled veggie hoagie” abomination from the Flower Show (remember that?!), and Gucci’s terrible attempt to capitalize on true Philly ’tude by hawking $390 “Philly vs. Everybody” t-shirts.

In your way-too-long ESPN interview, you called Philly your “second home,” I guess after Australia, which is where you’re from. But the fact that you think you might be able to come back here and that we’ll throw open our arms with a great big Philly hug shows us that you really don’t understand us at all. (Though, look, stranger things have happened recently.)

Keep in mind that this is a town where you can still go into certain bars and hear people getting into heated debates about whether former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb threw up during the Super Bowl — a Super Bowl we notably lost. He almost certainly did not throw up. And this was in 2005! We are a town that does not forget.

Some Big Cheesesteak News

One of the original cheesesteak shops in all of Philadelphia — it opened in 1939 — is about to reopen. Read more here.

Any Bruce Springsteen Fans Out There?

If you were one of the Bruce Springsteen fans who bought tickets for his August appearances at Citizens Bank Park, both of which didn’t happen because he was under the weather, you’re gonna have to wait a long time before you get to redeem those tickets. Springsteen’s crew just announced that those shows will take place on August 21st and 23rd … meaning of 2024. If you can’t make it or you simply can’t conceive of planning your life that far ahead, don’t worry: Refunds are available.

On Race and Statues

A few weeks after I told you about the proposed Harriet Tubman statue designs, all of which were created by Black artists after the city originally contracted with a white artist to create a Harriet Tubman statue, the New York Times asks an interesting question: Does the race of the Harriet Tubman sculptor actually matter?

Local Talent

Bradley Cooper and irina shayk

Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk in 2019, back when they were a full-blown couple before becoming whatever it is that they are now (Getty Images)

Jenkintown’s one and only heartthrob Bradley Cooper may no longer be dating Irina Shayk, the mother of his child. But that doesn’t mean they can’t spend a topless beach day together, right?

Oh, and in less steamy Bradley Cooper news, we recently learned when his much talked about Leonard Bernstein biopic will be released. Maestro, which he stars in and also directs, gets a limited theatrical release on November 22nd before hitting Netflix on December 20th.

And it was just yesterday that I told you about Overbrook High School grad Colman Domingo’s busy Hollywood schedule. Well, since my initial report, a bunch of stories now indicate there’s some major Oscar buzz in the air for the actor. Here’s hoping.

By the Numbers

9: Bullets found (including one in the chamber) in the loaded 9mm handgun a Philadelphia airport employee tried to bring through security with him. He reportedly explained that he forgot it was in his bag. Incidents like this happen more often than you think. In 2021, security officers found 39 guns on passengers at PHL. (That’s not counting all the knives, gunpowder, hatchets and machetes people try to bring in their carry-on luggage). For more on the guns-at-PHL problem, read here.

10: Number of days any Philadelphia School District student exposed to COVID will be encouraged to wear a mask, according to the just-released covid guidelines for the new school year. But no requirement. Any student who tests positive for COVID (are people even testing these days?) will be required to learn from home for at least five days, and I’m sure the district has a positively fabulous virtual learning solution for them.

80: Percentage of city and “quasi-public entity” contracts that Philadelphia awarded to white men in FY 2021. That’s actually worse than it used to be. Five years earlier, white guys “only” got 70 percent of the business.

And from the Ain’t-No-Stoppin’-Us Sports Desk …

Lefty Tyler Anderson was the starter for the Angels in the second of their three-game series with Phillies last night, up against the so-far wildly uneven Michael Lorenzen. Sure enough, Luis Rengifo led off the second inning with a solo homer. Ha, not so fast, Angels! Bryce Harper got it right back to lead off the bottom half. Of course he did. It put him only one homer away from a career 300:

In the third, Lorenzen allowed a double and muffed a throw on a grounder, giving L.A. a second run. Then, naturally, in our half, Kyle Schwarber homered, and it was 2-2. Son of a bitch — another Rengifo homer to start the fourth. What, no Phils answer for that one? And the Angles picked up one more on a double, a grounder, and a Shohei Ohtani single in the fifth: 4-2. On the plus side, a J.P. Realmuto throw to Sosa at third picked the star two-way guy off when he tried to steal.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nick Castellanos led off with a single he turned into a double on a throwing error. Matchy-matchy! That brought up Harper, who, no surprise, was walked to get to Alec Bohm. And hey ho, he homered: Phils up, 5-4! Realmuto then doubled, and that was the end of Anderson. Pinch hitter Bryson Stott singled off newcomer Jose Soriano. Sosa struck out for the first out, but Johan Rojas laid down a bunt that scored J.T., and after Schwarbs flied out, Trea Turner tripled everyone else home: 8-4 Phils! And another pitching change, for Jaime Barria, who got the last out.

In the seventh, Jose Alvarado came in for Lorenzen and gave up a solo homer to Randal Grichuk, then notched three straight outs. The Phils’ half was busy, with a Bohm double, a J.T. single that scored him, and a two-run Stott homer. Seranthony got three straight outs in the eighth, followed by a Turner homer that made it 12-5. Harper missed 300 by about 10 feet in center, but who needed it? Well … Andrew Bellatti pitched the ninth, allowing a walk, a single that led to a Marsh throwing error, an Ohtani double, a bad throw by Turner on what became a single … damn, guys, just get it done! And Bellatti did, with a strikeout at last. Phils win, 12-5, for five straight! The last game in the series is this afternoon at 1:05.

Now for Some This-and-That …

At the deadline, the Eagles set their roster. Familiar names among the cuts included wide receivers Greg Ward and Britain Covey, punter Arryn Siposs and guard Josh Sills. Oh, and did you catch this Substack on former Sixers Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner speaking out publicly about game-fixing, in particular Game 7 of their playoff series against the Celtics in 2012? And oh God in heaven, why was Ben Simmons trending all day?

Kill me now if that loser comes back here. By the way, remember Doug Pederson, former Eagles coach? Just sayin’: Man is harsh. He cut his own kid from his roster.

And in Doop News …

The Union play at 7:30 tonight in Toronto. Doop!

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.