Ben Simmons used the bully pulpit afforded him as an NBA player to weigh in on the March for Our Lives protests taking place across the United States on Saturday.
During warm-ups Saturday night, Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers’ rookie of the year candidate, wore a T-shirt blazoned with the march’s logo before recording his 10th career triple-double in a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Simmons is from Australia, where, in the aftermath of a 1996 shooting that claimed the lives of 35 people, automatic and semiautomatic weapons were banned.
“For me growing up in Australia, I think there was a gun ban way back in the day where they bought back the guns and there hasn’t been any major shootings or anything like that,” the 21-year-old point guard said (via Philly.com). “I think it’s very important, it’s where I come from. You want kids to feel safe going to school and parents. I just don’t believe there are any reasons to have a gun, maybe hunting, but that’s a different conversation. That really sticks with me. I don’t believe anyone should have to worry about somebody coming in and shooting up a place. It’s an unnecessary thought.”
His sister, Olivia, shared a photo showing that the activism isn’t new for her brother, who wore an “I can’t breathe” T-shirt. Those were the last words of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 from a police chokehold.
Simmons, who attended high school near Orlando, looks upon LeBron James as a mentor and has watched as James has increasingly raised his voice over political and social issues. Like James, Simmons, whose Twitter page contains the image “I am more than an athlete,” is not fond of President Trump.
“I think he’s an idiot,” Simmons said last fall as the NFL’s national anthem demonstrations were a hot topic of conversation. ” … Some of the comments he’s just made about players, the NFL, the anthem, everyone respects America and everyone thinks America is a great country. I think, as a man, you’re not supposed to be tweeting like that, saying remarks about women, what people should be doing.”
Read more on the March for Our Lives from The Post: