“Every time I step on the floor or whatever I’m doing, I’m always representing Australia and especially Philadelphia,” he said post-game. “I have two homes now, it’s an amazing feeling I’m representing something much bigger than myself and my family.”
In 11 minutes, Simmons threw down 18 points, two rebounds and two assists. – Philly 76’s 114 vs Orlando Magic 106, 5/3/19
Ben Simmons athleticism is clear when you watch an NBA game and like many stars, he excelled at many sports as a youngster.
The 22-year-old Aussie said he showed plenty of promise in rugby league and Aussie rules but the Philadelphia 76ers star said he couldn’t go down the route of becoming a star cricketers with one major roadblock holding back his potential.
“I’m six foot 10 (208cm tall),” Simmons told reporters. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a six foot 10 cricket player.”
He’s pretty right about that, the two tallest Australian cricketers were Peter George and Bruce Reid, both six foot eight.
But the tallest first-class and international cricketer is Mohammed Irfan who is seven foot one.
Still, the Aussie star found his sport, making Australian basketball history as the first Aussie to be selected in the NBA All-Star game, which will be played Monday at midday AEDT and will be live on ESPN and Kayo Sports.
But first Simmons will play for the World Team against the best young US stars in the Rising Stars game, the traditional match between the NBAs best first and second-year players.
While Simmons was at the centre of an All-Star first with a trade for Russell Westbrook, Simmons said he was looking forward to working with Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic, who he predicts to follow in his footsteps and be named the NBA Rookie of the Year.
Despite his cricket career not panning out, Simmons is still eager to represent Australia however, potentially as early as two exhibition games against Team USA in Melbourne in August and even the Boomers’ World Cup campaign in China.
“I’m not really focused on it right now, but I know when I have the right opportunity to go play and represent Australia I’ll do that,” Simmons said.
Simmons was embroiled in controversy the past week when news broke he was interested in working out with Magic Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers legend and president of the team’s basketball operations.
Simmons explained his desire to learn from the game’s greats.
“I mean, whenever you have an opportunity to talk to a Hall of Famer regardless of who it is you want to get some information and learn from them,” Simmons said.
Johnson and the Lakers, keen to add All-Stars to their roster, have been fined for breaching the NBA’s tampering rules the past year.
The NBA cleared Johnson and the Lakers on Tuesday after finding it was the 76ers who initiated the contact “with the Los Angeles Lakers by requesting a meeting between Johnson and Simmons”.
Simmons was asked to name his basketball role models growing up and he chose James and Johnson.
“Somebody I looked up to as a player was LeBron, for sure,” Simmons said. “I watched a lot of Magic highlights.
“So I think those are the two guys I have really looked at.”
— with Peter Mitchell, AAP
The NBA is hotting up. Ben Simmons is the current MVP on his latest performances. Judging by the comments on some of the videos, the US fans are somewhat miffed that an Aussie can stroll in and take centre stage. Now it appears 13 year NBA veteran, Andrew Bogart, currently a free agent after a year with the Sydney Kings, is being courted by a number of clubs as well.
The standards required to achieve NBA professionalism start with the playing surface young players are trained on. It’s vitally important that the Timber Sports Flooring is FIFA approved and fully maintained to the highest standard. Ben Simmons started playing Basketball as a child in Knox – Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs.
Nellakir are the leading installers of genuine Sprung Timber Sports Flooring utilising the ASF/Horner range of products to achieve the highest standards of professional playing surfaces, whether at major stadiums like the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna, the Bendigo Stadium or many more first class locations, or maybe just your local State Primary School.
Nellakir – the experts in Construction and Maintenance of all Timber Sports Flooring.
Nellakir – Champion floors for future champions.