Barring anything unexpected in the strange year of 2020, Ben Simmons will remain with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2016, Simmons has grown into an All-Star player. Although Simmons has notable flaws in his game and has struggled with durability, the reigning league leader in steals has a bright future with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Although Simmons is Australian, the 24-year-old guard — who is of mixed race — hasn’t been free of racial profiling. Simmons felt he encountered that problem head-on at an Australian casino.
Ben Simmons has had a solid career with the 76ers
Ben Simmons is still an unfinished project, which could be good or bad news for the Philadelphia 76ers.
When healthy, Simmons has been an excellent presence on the court and a bright young player. After he missed his rookie season with a foot injury, Simmons averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, eight assists, and 1.7 steals per night.
Simmons led the NBA with 2.1 steals per game last season. In 22 career playoff games, Simmons contributed an even 15 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.5 steals.
The main knock on Simmons, which could change with Doc Rivers taking over the 76ers, is his lack of scoring. Although Simmons has hit 56% of his career shots, he never takes three-point field goals and has an ugly 59.3% free-throw percentage.
If the 76ers intend to get over the hump and reach the NBA Finals for the first time since Allen Iverson played in Philadelphia, Simmons needs to take a major step forward in scoring.
Simmons is of mixed race
Ben Simmons is of Australian descent.
Before he arrived in the United States and played at LSU, Simmons grew up in Australia. Simmons is also of mixed race.
His father, Dave, is Black and had a long career in Australia’s National Basketball League. LaMelo Ball, the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, also played in the NBL.
Dave Simmons played eight seasons with the Melbourne Tigers and won a championship with them in 1993. Melbourne retired Simmons’ No. 25 after he retired.
Simmons’ mother, Julie, is a white Australian woman.
Ben Simmons felt racially profiled and “singled out” at a casino
Ben Simmons’ ethnicity and background is relevant because he is no stranger to racial profiling.
In July 2019, Simmons shared his own experiences with being, in his words, “singled out.” According to the NBA’s official website, Simmons posted a video on Instagram at a casino in Melbourne, Australia.
The video showed Simmons asking why casino employees asked him and two friends, both of whom were Black, for identification. A member of their party who is white, Simmons said, was not asked for identification.
Simmons later deleted the video. The casino explained in a statement that the security staff regularly did ID checks on people who looked younger than 25.
No one under the age of 18 is allowed in the casino.
Simmons tweeted his thoughts on the incident, where he used the term “singled out” to explain how he felt.
“[N]o one likes to feel like this,” Simmons tweeted. “I am very passionate about equality and I will always speak up even if it means having uncomfortable conversations.”