Lionel Simmons was one of the greatest scorers in college basketball history. He totaled over 3,000 points at La Salle and won numerous awards during his NCAA playing days. Simmons was a high draft pick out of college, but his NBA career left much to be desired. He isn’t remembered today as one of the greatest NBA players in the ’90s, but his college career should never be forgotten. So, what happened to the Philadelphia legend in the pros and where is he today?
Lionel Simmons had an incredible career at La Salle
Lionel Simmons is most well-known for his playing days at La Salle in Philadelphia. Since he arrived as a freshman, Simmons captivated the entire city with his aggressiveness and scoring prowess.
Simmons averaged 20.3 points and 9.8 rebounds as a freshman in college. He solidified himself as one of the top scorers in the NCAA after just one season at La Salle, and he only improved from there.
“L Train” scored 23.3 points per game as a sophomore en route to being named the 1987-88 MAAC Player of the Year. It was the first award he received as a college basketball player, but it was far from his last.
As a senior, Simmons was the best player in the entire country. He scored 26.5 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field. After the season, Simmons took home a whopping nine awards, including the AP Player of the Year, the Naismith Award, and the Wooden Award.
Simmons finished his career as the fourth-highest scorer in NCAA history. The La Salle legend was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
Lionel Simmons played seven seasons in the NBA
As much as Simmons is remembered today for his days at La Salle, he actually had a successful NBA career afterward. Simmons was drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the seventh pick in the 1990 NBA draft, and he spent his entire career with the team.
Simmons had his best NBA season in his rookie year. He averaged 18.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in 1990-91. The Kings’ youngster was also named to the All-Rookie Team that season.
Simmons averaged over 15 points and seven rebounds in each of his first four NBA seasons. He was considered one of the best rising stars in the game in the early ’90s. However, things took a turn in 1994.
In his fifth NBA season, Simmons was replaced in the Kings‘ starting lineup. He started just three games in 1994-95 and averaged a measly 5.6 points per game off the bench. After four straight seasons averaging double digits, Simmons fell off a cliff and couldn’t even muster four points per game by the end of his career.
In 1996-97, Simmons averaged just 3.4 points per game and shot just 33.1 percent from the floor. His scoring touch had vanished in a few short years. What was once a promising young NBA talent turned into a bust in the blink of an eye. Simmons was out of the league by 1997.
Where is Lionel Simmons today?
Simmons returned to his hometown of Philadelphia after his NBA career. He remains there today and lives his life like any regular Joe in the city.
Simmons is constantly helping out in his community today. He helps local schools by providing school supplies and feeds the hungry in Philadelphia whenever he can. Simmons is a staple of charity in the city he grew up in and still loves today.
Although his NBA career turned into a disappointment, Simmons should be remembered for his legendary career at La Salle and charitable life in retirement.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference