Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons might be young, but he’s already made quite a name for himself in the NBA. While you might not want to rely on the guard’s outside shooting, the Australian can do just about everything else. That skillset, combined with his status as a former first overall pick, has helped Simmons earn more than $26 million in four professional seasons.
Despite that bankroll, Simmons still has a few financial regrets. In fact, there’s one specific, $10,000 purchase that proved to be more trouble than it was worth.
Ben Simmon’s time with the Philadelphia 76ers
While Australia might not seem like a basketball hotbed, Ben Simmons hails from the land down under. He spent plenty of time playing Australian rules football but ultimately decided to focus his energy on the hardwood. It’s safe to say that decision has paid off in spades.
During high school, Simmons moved to the United States and enrolled at Montverde Academy; before long, he had committed to play his college ball at LSU. While things didn’t go as planned in the bayou—the Tigers missed the NCAA Tournament and chose to forgo any postseason action—Simmons still established himself as a rising star.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected Simmons with the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft, but the problems didn’t end there. The guard broke his foot during training camp; he was expected to recover in a few months but ended up missing the entire season.
Once Simmons made his NBA debut, though, his talent shone through. He took home the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year title; he still has some divisive flaws in his game, but the guard has the ability to make an impact in a variety of ways.
A $10,000 purchase to forget
As a former first overall pick, Ben Simmons has plenty of money in the bank. He’s earned just over $26 million through the 2020 season; by the end of his extension, which kicks in for the 2021 campaign, he’ll have taken home almost $200 million. That gives the guard some financial freedom, but not every purchase is a slam dunk.
“There’s a few things [that I regret purchasing],” Simmons explained on the UNINTERRUPTED’s Kneading Dough. “I had two Savanah cats. I had to get rid of them, though. They were crazy.” The guard went on to say that he splashed out a total of $10,000 on the felines, primarily because he loves animals.
While Simmons didn’t elaborate on the situation, his brother did share some insight with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.
“So we start with one. It’s all good, and everything is cool,” the 31-year-old Tribe said. “Then Ben, being the 20-year-old that he is, says, ‘He needs a friend. We need to give it a friend.’ So he gets a male one this time, and this cat is crazy. It doesn’t want to eat. It’s hiding from us. Every time we go near it, it’s scratching. You can’t go near this cat. You give the cat a bowl of fruit, and it’s clawing at your hand when you put the fruit down. It’s like a wild animal.
Eventually, they sent the cats back to the breeder. Tribe, however, was left bloodied after trying to get the male through airport security.
Ben Simmons isn’t the only athlete to purchase problem pets
While Ben Simmon’s Savannah cats became an internet sensation, he isn’t the only athlete to spend a nice chunk of change on some peculiar pets.
During his boxing career, Mike Tyson famously owned a few pet tigers. While he loved the big cats, owning apex predators doesn’t come cheap; in addition to the cost of purchasing the pets and caring for them, Iron Mike shelled out an additional $250,000 after one of his tigers attacked a woman.
While Simmons cats were a lot cheaper and safer than Tyson’s tigers, the moral of the story remains the same: exotic pets may seem like a fun impulse buy, but they’re rarely worth the cash and the trouble.