Ben Simmons’ withdrawal from the Olympics does not make him un-Australian | Basketball

Basketball star Ben Simmons has committed the ultimate sporting sin by withdrawing from the Australian Olympic team and has thus become the number one public enemy.

He should not be.

The 24-year-old officially withdrew from the Boomers team to Tokyo on Tuesday after a tumultuous month, citing the need for an off-season focus on “individual skills development”.

This situation is complex, delicate and more than an American-based Australian too big for his boots to stumble his country to the biggest tournament.

Simmons has had a hard trot, gloomy in a semifinal series in which his 76ers were eliminated by Atlanta. In a decisive game of seven, he attempted just four shots from depth and took only 10 shots or more on just two games in the Eastern Conference series.

Simmons had an average of 9.9 points per game. Fight and shoot with 33 percent from the penalty throw line. His percentage after a free throw of 34.2 was the worst in league history from at least 70 attempts according to ESPN.

2016 No. 1 NBA draft whose fight to connect from the three-point line has been well documented was now completely free of trust. It’s a sad sight when a professional athlete is so visibly and desperately out of shape and fighting a battle over his shoulders.

Keeping this together with the uncertain future of this year’s rookie of 2018 and triple all-star’s future in Philadelphia and the trade rumor running hot, it seems perfectly logical. games, regain confidence and probably find enjoyment from the sport again.

Ultimately, the 76ers are his employer, paying him a dazzling multi-million dollar contract to put the ball in the hole, win games and influence the decisive final.

As much as we would all love to see the star wear the green and gold and help the Boomers to the Australian men’s basketball ever Olympic medal ever, it is and should be understandable that he has prioritized his employer.

Playing for your country at the Olympics is what childhood dreams are made of, when achieved it happens with a lot of pride. It is an honor that comes with sacrifice, including being paid to play.

The Simmons situation is even sharper because of the unwavering commitment of veterans, NBA players themselves, who have been so influential in shaping the culture of the national men’s team. Retired Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Aaron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills.

Quotes from Mills highlighted in the press release from Basketball Australia, in which Simmons withdrew from the team. But those words really filled a punch when Mills expressed them in a pre-recorded video.

Patty Mills
Patty Mills said the Boomers will always be there for the Simmons. Photo: Elsa / Getty Images

“This place right here, and the program we have developed and how strong our culture is, it is a place for him [Simmons] there will always be here with open arms because we are men, ”Mills said. “We are teammates, we are a brotherhood and to be able to represent the green and gold, that is the culture we have.

“The most important fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben is no exception. No matter what he does, I and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that we now more than ever need to support Ben on his journey. ”

If you cut Mills up, he would soften green and gold. We love and love him for it. He prioritizes playing for the Boomers and has said he is thinking of winning an elusive Olympic medal before going to bed every night.

Simmons may not feel that way – so strongly or at all – about representing Australia, and that’s OK. It makes him no less Australian.

It’s not the first time Simmons has made this kind of decision that has drawn the wrath of basketball fans.

He did not make himself available for the Rio 2016 Olympics or the Fiba World Cup in 2019. Fans who paid for lucrative tickets to show games in 2019 between Australia and the USA Basketball was furious as the Simmons did not travel from the US while others did.

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Simmons needs to get his game in order and do what’s right for him. His mental health is also paramount.

When he retired, he “made it clear” to Boomers coach Brian Goorjian that representing Australia “is something he will be a part of in the future”.

“Boomers are always here for him,” Goorjian said. “We wanted him to know that the culture and guys here in his time are behind him and support him.”

If it’s good enough for the Australian Boomers, it’s going to be good enough for the Australians.

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