The NBA has found itself in limbo, awaiting the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic. On March 11, 2020, the league suspended play for the 2019-20 season. As schools and businesses closed, people across the nation struggled to work at home. When you are a pro athlete, it’s impossible to take your job home with you. NBA players, like Ben Simmons, are adhering to quarantine guidelines and finding other ways to keep themselves busy.
Ben Simmons’ NBA Career
Simmons is a two-time All-Star point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers. The 6-foot-10 playmaker from Australia has become an essential part of the 76ers offense. At just 23 years of age, his incredible speed and agility on the court earns him the league ranking of fourth for transition frequency at 30.1%.
Simmons played in 54 out of 65 games in the 2019-20 season, averaging 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds. He had missed the last eight games of the 76ers season due to nerve impingement that he experienced after his performance in the All-Star game. During his last game on February 22nd, he played only four minutes 44 seconds before sticking to the bench.
Now, with the NBA season on hold, Simmons should have time to recuperate and allow the nerve pain, swelling, and lower back tightness to diminish.
What Simmons has been up to now
Simmons is a long-time gamer that has been mastering consoles since his early days growing up in Melbourne, Australia. In a recent interview with ESPN Sports, he revealed he started playing Call of Duty early on and then got into PC-based games like Counter-Strike.
Fast forward to today, and Simmons enjoys trash-talking in the locker room with 76ers teammate Joel Embiid who is also a competitive gamer. ESPN describes Simmons as “the prototypical new-age star in the NBA today. He loves video games, social media, and pop culture.”
Simmons often live-streams his gameplay on Twitch for viewers to enjoy and is an ambassador for the popular online game, PUBG. He also hosts a gaming web series, having NBA greats like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Isaiah Thomas drop by to join him. Simmons may just have a future in Esports.
Ben Simmons’ Call of Duty victory
Simmons is just as successful sitting on the couch as he is on the court. He recently participated in SLAM Magazine’s first Call of Duty: Modern Warfare tournament and reigned victorious. No one could beat his unsurpassed use of weapons and one-shot accuracy throughout the tournament. His team won 4-3 and Simmons earned the MVP, gaining major bragging rights.
The tournament was live-streamed on SLAM’s Twitch account. Game participants included fellow NBA stars Royce O’Neale, Josh Hart, Terrence Clark, Meyers Leonard, Zach LaVine, and Mario Hezonja.
Even Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell, who was recently diagnosed with coronavirus, took a break from the solitude and participated in the six-on-six tournament. SLAM is planning a rematch Week 2 tournament, giving Simmons the chance to defend his title.
Simmons wants to get back in the game
Despite enjoying his time off relaxing on the couch with a video game controller in hand, Simmons has expressed that he’s getting bored. He tweeted that he misses the game. The NBA hopes to salvage the rest of the season. The league may play a tournament in Las Vegas as a precursor to the NBA Finals.
Anticipating a $1 billion loss due to the coronavirus outbreak, players and coaches are anxious to get playing again. Mark Cuban recently told CNBC that he thought the league would finish out the season without fans. It would air on television and stream on platforms to “give people something to celebrate.”