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Howard's amazing Sixers goodbye note has advice to Simmons originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Howard was a very solid backup center behind Joel Embiid during the regular season, and he seemed to mesh with the city and Sixers fans basically immediately, leaning into the home games' Frosty Freeze-Out traditions and generally being a positive force all over the place.
It's a bummer to see Howard go, and he seemed genuinely sorry to leave Philly behind in a message he posted to Instagram on Tuesday for Sixers fans:
Here's the message:
"Philly. Philly. Philly. If a picture could describe my experience in Philly this the one. Pure love and joy. I’m sad our time together was short. But I must say I enjoyed every single moment. I am gonna definitely miss Philly and the city and all the fans. Y’all showed me so much love. And it did not go unnoticed. I love you. Thank you to the city of BROTHERLY LOVE. PHILADELPHIA. 🏆🏆🏆. Imma miss my frosty chants with the crowd.😭😭. To my brothers. This year we came up short. But we had an amazing season. Thank you to the entire 76er staff. We will always be family. And Ben. Bend ya kneeeesss 😂😂😂😂. #iwantmyparadedammit"
Yep, that's basically the perfect "so long" letter. Howard really managed to hit on all the important things:
The reciprocated love for the fans
His Frosty Freeze-Out fascination
His desire for a parade, dammit
Those dang Ben Simmons free throws
It's funny to see Howard making light of the Simmons free throw situation, considering he came to Simmons' defense after Sixers fans were vocal in their criticism of the young All-Star following a disappointing showing in the second round vs. the Hawks.
At the time, Howard told Sixers fans to take it easy on Simmons:
"If you want this man to be great, if you expect greater from him, just [sic] say him love and positivity. That man's got it in him to be great, man, and I believe this is something that's going to wake him up. As mad as y'all want to be, send him some positive vibes, man. That man is 24 years old."
But, of course, Howard is no stranger to free throw struggles so he's probably just trying to impart a little wisdom and help nudge Simmons towards future success.
Simmons, for the record, replied to the message with a number of laughing emojis.
It's a shame Howard had to leave - and the Sixers have already replaced him with Andre Drummond - but he's title hunting, and the last time he played for the Lakers he won his first ring. Perhaps the Sixers and Lakers can meet in the Finals next season, and Sixers fans can cheer when Howard misses a second-half free throw. What a full circle that would be.