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As the Sixers season begins, drama continues to surround not-yet-former Philly point guard Ben Simmons. Or as he’s known in the gaming world, “Simmo the Savage.”
In a Friday meeting with his 76ers teammates, Simmons reportedly admitted he bears some responsibility for the situation at hand. The change in heart — he’d previously avoided such a discussion — came a day after Eagles center Jason Kelce called Simmons out, saying fans in Philadelphia appreciate it when players take accountability.
Philly fans have distinctly not appreciated most of Simmons’ actions since he demanded a trade after contributing to the Sixers early exit in last year’s playoffs. The latest non-sports move to catch attention was the listing for his 10,476-sq.-ft. Moorestown, N.J. home. The $5 million asking price raised some eyebrows, but even more focus went to the neon sign that fronts his custom gaming room.
Topped with a Basquiat-style crown, the bright green sign reads “Simmo the Savage,” a pompous-sounding title that’s actually a gaming nickname Simmons has used since he was a teen.
It was custom made, according to Widell + Boschetti, the interior design firm that outfitted the South Jersey estate when Simmons bought it. The commission was done through NAMEGLO, a New York-based practice owned by Lena Imamura and Sas Simon, they said.
Widell + Boschetti wouldn’t comment on the price of Ben’s sign in particular, but comparable custom pieces are listed at $875 and up on the NAMEGLO website.
The sign was first featured in the big Simmons profile that ran in the February 2020 edition of Slam, a magazine about NBA culture. Its green loops and exclamation point front a couple of lounge chairs, which are basically the foyer for a bigger gaming room in back. In the article, Simmons said he didn’t set up the room himself, but had an idea of how it would look: “The TVs were so a bunch of friends could come over and game.”
Also featured in the Slam story (and photographed in front of the sign) is pro gamer Thomas Oliveira, aka FaZe Temperrr, who cofounded esports and entertainment organization FaZe Clan. Forbes last year ranked FaZe the fourth most profitable esports company.
Simmons signed with FaZe for an undisclosed amount of money in August of 2020, and now goes by the name “FaZe Simmo” in relevant games. On Twitch, where he has 59k followers, he goes by “SimmotheSavage25.”
One of the most-streamed games on that Twitch channel is Call of Duty: World at War, which was the first game Simmons played as a child, according to his FaZe bio.
In September, even as the trade drama was starting to pick up, Philadelphia company Metro Esports announced it would be teaming up with Simmons and his family foundation this fall to bring esports-driven education programs to students in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The partnership aims to “diversify an industry that lacks representation from people of color,” according to a release, and Simmons praised it in a tweet — under which fans dropped comments questioning his loyalty to the region.
He might be in the area a while yet. 76ers President Daryl Morey said Friday he expected the trade talks to drag on as the season picks up. “‘People should buckle in. This is going to go a long time,” Morey told Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic.
It’s still unclear if or when the Metro Esports partnership for kids programs will happen. Or if the “Simmo the Savage” sign — and the accompanying mansion — will find a willing buyer.