Ben Simmons is well acquainted with the lime light.
His skills on a basketball court propelled him to the international spotlight at a young age, and he was the nation’s top-ranked recruit out of high school.
All eyes were on Simmons when he chose to attend LSU for a year, and his recent success for the Philadelphia 76ers is helping him grab headlines once again.
Last week, however, it was Simmons’ mouth-not his post moves-that catapulted the Australian native to the front of the news cycle.
In an interview released Nov. 9, Simmons didn’t mince his words about his time in Baton Rouge.
“Looking at it now, I don’t really know what I learned, financially, or just being a person at LSU,” Simmons said. “I think I’ve learned a lot more with this last year being in Philly and being a pro than I did at LSU.”
The Sixer forward may have garnered sympathy from many who believe he’s another victim of an abusive NCAA system, but those of us who witnessed his time at LSU know his comments are disingenuous.
It’s no secret around campus that Simmons rarely attended class and was a frequent patron at the bars Tigerland. His struggles with schoolwork made the star forward ineligible to receive the prestigious John R. Wooden Award at the end of his collegiate career.
To be academically eligible for the award would have required a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average. That means in order to take Simmons’s critiques of the higher education seriously, we’d literally have to listen to a student who didn’t pass the majority of his classes.
I’m not trying to judge Simmons for his lifestyle choices. He’s free to do as he pleases. I do, however, take issue with his lack of gratitude and personal responsibility.
Higher education is a privilege that some will never get the opportunity to pursue. Simmons was afforded that privilege because of his ability to put a leather ball through an iron hoop.
Instead of showing an appreciation for the opportunity he received, he chose to bash the school that could have provided him with all the tools necessary to succeed academically had he sought out those resources.
But it’s clear from Simmons’ juvenile comments that he was perfectly fine with using LSU solely as a stepping stone to his professional career and accomplished little to no growth as a person.
The good news for Simmons is that he will probably make more money in a few years than I’ll make in an entire lifetime. The bad news is that there’s a life beyond playing sports, and the prime years of Simmons’s career will come and go faster than he thinks.
If Simmons continues to spend his days transferring blame in order to disguise his own lack of effort, the amount of fulfillment he finds in life will be as dismal as his collegiate GPA.