Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons is only in his first full-season, but there’s an indication he’s going to be really damn good. Don’t believe me? Just ask LeBron.
Simmons described LeBron giving him huge props in a profile masterfully done by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins. James told Simmons he could potentially be “better than me.”
“You have an opportunity,” James told Simmons early on, “to be better than me. But you can’t skip steps. You have to do the work.” Those words helped sustain him when he stumbled at LSU and helped fuel him as he rehabbed in Philadelphia. “Is this really going to happen?” he asked himself. He knew, even if others wavered, that it would. Because LeBron said so, and for a prospect of Simmons’s vintage, no endorsement means more. “Part of his greatness,” Simmons says, “is that he wants others to be just as great.”
The 21-year-old getting accolades from the GOAT isn’t surprising. Simmons is a star already, averaging a robust 18.7 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists – insane numbers, considering he’s a rookie. Once Simmons improves his free throw shooting and figures out how to shoot long range, the sky is the limit.
Will Simmons be better than LeBron? That’s a high bar to cross, however, as James mentioned, if he does the work it’s certainly possible.