NBA fans know Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers. After one year of college basketball at Louisiana State University, Simmons decided he wouldn’t return. Shortly after this, he announced he’d enter the 2016 NBA draft. Simmons was selected by Philadelphia. The rest is history, or so his fans think. But another sport may have been Simmons‘ first love, and he may return to it someday
Ben Simmons’ early life in Australia
Simmons was born in July of 1996. Many fans and the public may be shocked to learn that Simmons was actually raised in Australia. Simmons’ father, Dave Simmons, accepted a basketball coaching position in Newcastle, New South Wales where Simmons spent most of his childhood.
When Simmons’ father met his mother she already had four children. Together his parents had two more children making Simmons the youngest of the family. Growing up in an area and household that valued athleticism most likely led to Simmons to discovering his love for sports.
Simmons’ love for Australian rules football
Growing up in Australia meant playing Australian rules football was most likely inevitable for Simmons. Footy as the natives call it is a very important and celebrated aspect of Australian culture. The fast-paced game comes with its own set of rules that aren’t for the faint of heart.
As a child, Simmons began exploring basketball and Australian football. It was obvious that he excelled and was extremely talented at both sports. Simmons’ mother admits to trying to persuade him to choose footy over basketball. But as his fans already know, Simmons decided to focus his pursuits on basketball.
However, his strong history and knowledge of Aussie football give him a leg-up on the basketball court. Many athletes incorporate moves and knowledge from different sports to enhance their skills. It may be subtle, but when fans and viewers watch Simmons on the court they can pick up on his Australian football-roots.
For instance, “Shepherding” is a term in Australia that applies to the country’s football and culture. Just like so many locals vigorously round up the sheep the Australian football players use “Shepherding” as a way to use your upper body to forcefully open up space for a teammate. This article perfectly captures Simmons’ love for Aussie football as well as his inherited traits and moves he carried into the NBA.
Ben Simmons’ hints at possibly playing Australian football someday
Recently Simmons hinted towards the possibility of perhaps still being able to professional play Australian Football someday. Since Simmons grew up as a huge fan of the Aussie Rules team, Essendon Bombers, this would be an amazing opportunity for the star athlete.
Not too long ago Simmons tweeted to Essendon Bombers: “Before it’s all done, I need one season in the red and black”. Fans and media everywhere heard Simmons’ message loud and clear. Xavier Campbell, Bombers CEO, tweeted back enthusiastically encouraging Simmons.
There were many twitter reactions that captured the excitement and support of this potential opportunity. Hugh Greenwood is a great example of a basketball star who managed to find a way to switch to Aussie rules football. Playing in the NBA may be one of Simmons’ dreams come true. But it doesn’t have to be the only one.