Ben Simmons, who currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers, is one of the best basketball players in the NBA right now. At just 24 years old, Simmons has managed to make the NBA All-Star team three years in a row and is one of the major stars on his squad.
Though he has yet to win an NBA Championship, there’s no question he’s going to be playing in the league for a long time.
From where he was born to his famous former girlfriend, here are a few fun facts you should know about the basketball star.
Growing Up Down Under
Many people don’t know this, but Simmons was actually born in Melbourne, Australia. His father is an African-American ex-pat who became a naturalized citizen of Australia, while his mother is a native Australian. He was raised in Australia with his five brothers and sisters — Melissa, Emily, Liam, Sean, and Olivia.
His family moved to Newcastle, Australia when Simmons was just 18 months old because his father was playing and coaching in the city. It was in Newcastle that he started playing basketball at the age of just seven years old. He also started playing rugby, which is a very popular sport in Australia.
Following in His Father’s Footsteps
His father was actually a basketball player himself and even played collegiately at Oklahoma City University. He then decided to play professional basketball in Melbourne, which is why he ended up moving to Australia in the first place.
Torn Between Two Sports
While he grew up playing basketball, he also played Australian football. Though he loved both sports and was equally good at them, he decided to commit to basketball when he was a teenager.
It became clear he had real talent when he entered high school, which is why he moved to Florida to attend Montverde Academy.
One and Done
During his senior year of high school, Simmons committed to play collegiately at Louisiana State University, despite having offers from major college powerhouses such as Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas.
However, after one year of college ball, Simmons decided to declare for the NBA. Simmons was later featured in a Showtime documentary called One & Done, which discussed his decision to leave college after one year.
Though Simmons is very well-known for his success on the court, he found himself in the tabloids a couple of years ago when he began dating supermodel and reality star, Kendall Jenner.
The couple was very private about their relationship, but Jenner was spotted at a number of his games. The pair dated for about a year before eventually breaking up in 2019.
Though he is a dual-citizen of Australia and the United States, Simmons decided to represent Australia at the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championships when he was 15 years old. He then made his debut for the senior national team in 2013.
Though he was eligible to play for Australia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Simmons decided to not join the team in order to focus on his NBA career. However, he did reveal in 2019 that he plans to represent Australia at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.