Charlotte: There’s a man from Down Under at the top in NBA. Meet towering Benjamin David Simmons, who has dabbled with cricket and Australian Rules Football before driving his fans and opponents crazy at basketball. Big Ben is surely ringing bells.
Born in Melbourne, Ben “played a bit of backyard cricket” before moving on to football, which he ditched for the hoops after his coach wanted to play him back down the aggressive Ben always wanted to kick in goals.
Moving to the USA, he reset his goals on the basketball court and has never looked back since. Measuring 6-feet-10 from the ground, Ben barges through the opposition or goes up over them to sink/ make points for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. And at 22, he has so much ahead of him.
At that height, he sure would’ve made a tearaway fast bowler had he pursued cricket. “I don’t think I have ever seen a 6’10” cricket player,” he says.
Heading into Sunday’s All-Star game, he is all excited. “Being on Team LeBron that has so many different, talented guys is exciting. I just want to learn as much as I can,” he said, adding, “I love playing at a high level and competing against the best players so I am looking forward to the game.”
Ben feels growing up overseas was a factor in him becoming an elite athlete. “Growing up and playing internationally, you just read the game differently. Different things are thrown at you on the floor that toughen you up,” he said.
Sport runs in Simmons’ family. His brother Liam is an assistant coach for the Southwest Baptist Bearcats basketball team. His sister Emily, a former member of the Washington State University women’s rowing team, is the wife of NFL player Michael Bush. However, in terms of popularity, Ben’s their Dad....