Ben's story

It starts in The Bronx

Basketball in New York City in the Eighties had come of age. The Knicks, with two championships in the early 70’s, had turned the city’s burgeoning love for the sport into a full-blown passion: the fire burned from Red Hook to Jamaica, from Battery Park to Van Cortlandt Park.

When you played pickup ball, you had to win or sit out for maybe 3 or 4 games at a time. Most players were punished every time they drove to the hoop - if they weren’t strong enough

Dave Simmons

The city courts that created the physical, skilled modern game blossomed: Rucker, West Fourth, Dyckman. Madison Square Garden enshrined itself as the sacred court of basketball. The NBA had chosen Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue as its headquarters since the 70’s, where it still stands. Basketball was in the blood of the city.

Uptown, a young Dave Simmons graduated South Bronx High School. He started playing late, at age 15, but made up for his lack of experience with hard work, determination and a tough physical presence. His love of the game would open up doors to a professional career in South America and eventually Australia.

Melbourne

Dave would ultimately sign with the NBL’s Melbourne Tigers in 1989 and relocate to Australia. He immediately helped the team to their first post-season and by 1990, he was an All Star.

It was also now that Dave met Julie. Before long, Ben’s sister Olivia was born, and, on the 20th of July 1996, right in the middle of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Benjamin David Simmons entered the world in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy.

Ben may have been born in Melbourne but definitely has that Bronx toughness and competitiveness in his DNA - he hates losing.

Dave Simmons

Newcastle & Canberra

In 1997, the family moved north, to Newcastle, where Dave played for the Newcastle Falcons. Ben spent his early childhood in the east coast city, before the family briefly relocated to Australia's capital, Canberra, when Dave played with the Canberra Cannons. After two seasons there, the family returned to Newcastle, where Ben stood out in basketball, making the Newcastle Hunters’ representative under-12 side at the age of just seven, and playing for local rugby league clubs Western Suburbs and South Newcastle.

As the youngest in a large family, Ben always had his older siblings to play with and it wasn’t long before he learned how to catch and throw a basketball with ease.

Julie Simmons

Melbourne

At 10, his journey into elite representation was well underway, playing junior basketball for the Melbourne Tigers, Dandenong Rangers, Bulleen Boomers, Keilor Thunder (with buddy and future Jazz player Dante Exum and Knox Raiders.

Ben also took to Australia’s national game - Australian rules football - for the Beverley Hills Junior Football Club.

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Ultimately, his love for basketball won out, and at 15, Ben made his first appearance in the United States at the invite-only Pangos All-American Camp for basketball prospects, which hosts the top 150 high-school basketball prospects in the world. It was there he recognised the need to be playing against the best, and knew his future would be in the US.

FIBA U17 - Exum spins and sets up Simmons for a ferocious slam

Coming to America

After the Pangos camp, Ben and the family considered the options to complete his high school basketball in the US, deciding to join coach Kevin Boyle at Monteverde Academy. This environment would provide intense training and top national competition, and, with Ben, Monteverde would win three straight National Championships (2013, 2014 & 2015).

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Ben Simmons: Gatorade 2014-2015 Boys Basketball Player of the Year

One and Done

Ben received offers from multiple major colleges, ultimately committing to Louisiana State University, where his godfather David Patrick was assistant coach. LSU’s last great product got excited.

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Lsu just signed the best player in the world check him out

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Through the 2015-2016 college season Ben played 33 games, averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. His play made other people take notice…

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Ben declared for the 2016 NBA Draft on 21 March 2016, the top freshman in the country. He signed with agent Rich Paul, of Klutch Sports Group, and based himself out of Cleveland, Ohio for his pre-draft process.

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The 2016 NBA Draft

Philadelphia 76ers Draft Ben Simmons With First Pick of 2016 NBA Draft

The sixers fans where pretty excited.

So were the family.

Ben packed his bags and headed to the City of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia

A Jones fracture sidelined Ben for the 2016-2017 NBA season. Ben debuted on October 18, 2017, the starting point guard in an away game to the Wizards. He notched 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a performance coach Brett Brown described as “exceptional”. Ben said it felt like playing 2K.

‘‘It felt like I was playing 2K, honestly. Just looking at Joel Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, 'man, I'm actually here.'

Ben Simmons

And it tuned out, he wasn't far wrong about the 2K thing either.

Ben Simmons | Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Winner | 2018 NBA Awards
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Young King 👑 ⠀ @bensimmons #NBAAwards #KiaROY

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Ben Simmons' OFFICIAL 2018 NBA Season Mixtape | Rookie of the Year

From where I am now to a year ago, I would have thought I knew so much more a year ago, and now looking back, I really didn’t know anything... [now] I know how to handle my business.

Ben Simmons on HBO's The Shop

Ben had arrived.

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Keep going! Accept nothing less than being great! Anything else is not warranted. #striveforgreatness🚀 #youngking👑

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