Australian basketball prodigy Ben Simmons is on the fast track to success as part of the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. However, Simmons is equally committed to bring his country a gold medal at some stage in the future.
The Boomers are currently ranked 10th in the FIBA World Rankings, and finished 4th at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In 2016, Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills & Co. lost by just one point in their bronze medal playoff against Spain, after losing 87-61 to Serbia in the semi-finals. That Aussie team, however, was missing promising young talent such as Simmons, Dante Exum and Thon Maker.
“One of my goals is to win a medal with Australia and I want a gold medal, so when the time’s right I think it will happen. There’s a lot of Aussies in the NBA now, it’s really fun," Simmons said in an interview to ABC’s 7.30, via The Herald Sun.
Simmons is already a leader on his young Sixers team and hopes to make his country proud in the near future. “I don’t get many chances to go back (and train with my country mates). I usually go back once a year, and do my camp out there, but I definitely miss it. A lot of family, a lot of friends back home, and just the culture. We’re so down to earth and love our sports and just love having a good time. I think that’s one of the biggest things that I miss," added Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick at the 2016 NBA Draft.
Ben Simmons wants Boomers gold at Tokyo 2020
At Tokyo 2020, Simmons will lead arguably the most stacked Australian team ever that could feature Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Exum and Maker, besides the veteran point guard duo of Millls and Matthew Dellavedova. Despite the hype surrounding his game, Simmons is trying to stay grounded.
“It’s huge for me, they (my family) keep me humble. It’s a reality once I get back home with my brother and sister and my mum and dad, so they’re a huge help. I think they really keep me composed and relaxed once I’m away from the lights and the cameras," added Simmons, the front runner to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Ben Simmons and his Boomers will try to emulate Manu Ginobili's Argentinians, the last non-American team to win a gold medal at the Summer Olympics. At Athens 2004, Argentina defeated Italy to win the gold medal while the Americans had to settle for a bronze medal. Simmons is averaging 16.6 points, 7.3 assists and 7.9 rebounds in his rookie campaign with the Philadelphia 76ers.