The Cairns Post
Simmons needs dose of humility
BASKETBALLER Ben Simmons made a decision earlier this year to not play for Australia at the Olympic Games.
Unlike Patty Mills, a bona fide superstar, Simmons decided not to make the flight to Tokyo, citing his need to concentrate in the off season on “individual skill development’’.
Unfortunately for Simmons, that “individual skill development’’ is not happening right now, having been banned from the first NBL game of the year by his team, the Philadelphia 76s.
It came after he missed four pre-season games and was fined $US1.6m.
One teammate said the Melbourne-born Simmons “does whatever he wants” and “I don’t care about that man’’.
He’s reputed to be on $US20m a year, so while it will put a dent in his bank balance, it won’t send him broke.
Simmons needs to grow up. He’s suffering from that age-old sporting adage that there is no I in the word Team.
This is a guy who was raised in Australia, became a big deal in American elite sport, is now making a fortune, and yet he’s
buddied up with tennis brat Nick Kyrgios to be known simply as a good old-fashioned douchebag.
And here’s the problem now for Simmons. Elite sportspeople have a shelf life. When they retire, they retire.
The truly great sport stars go on to make another fortune with endorsements.
American-born Shaquille O’Neal is now more recognisable in Australia than Ben Simmons because he does those TV bookie ads, playing golf and getting a massage.
And that’s why Simmons needs an uppercut.
When the playing contracts dry up, endorsements can keep the money and lifestyle intact.
But in the case of Simmons, why would any prospective advertiser want to use a sullen, arrogant guy who became better known for his bad attitude, rather than his playing talents?
Think of Australia’s truly great sporting heroes, such as Rod Laver, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Dawn Fraser, Ken Rosewall, Ian Thorpe, Mick Doohan, Betty Cuthbert, Cathy Freeman, Margaret Court … they were also brilliant ambassadors for their country.
On the other hand, Simmons is a bore. Entitled, spoiled and in need of a good chat from somebody who can instil humbleness and gratitude.
Simmons lost me when he brushed the Olympics. The Boomers played out of their skin and led the US by 12 points at one point in the semi-final, only to lose and then go on to win the bronze medal.