Ben Simmons addresses that Melbourne fill-in game

Ben Simmons addresses that Melbourne fill-in game

Ben Simmons addresses that Melbourne fill-in game

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons has addressed that appearance at a Melbourne social league game last week.

Simmons drew a massive crowd at the Diamond Valley Sports Centre in Greensborough on Wednesday when he filled in for his friend's team, leading the Splashers to a 72-52 win over the Redbacks.

The appearance was curious to NBA fans because the 21-year-old has been held back by the Sixers since breaking his foot in training last September.

He missed the entire 2016-17 season and did not play in the development-focused Summer League in July.

But he was back in Melbourne, the city of his birth, this month to see family and friends before hosting a basketball camp for kids on Sunday.

Speaking at that camp, Simmons revealed the call from his friend came so late that he had to jump on the phone immediately to confirm whether he was allowed on court.

"I just wanted to get some runs in," he said.

"You don't really have any pick-up games that are high level, so a friend asked me to play and I just joined in. I think it was two or three hours before (the game), he told me, I said 'damn, I've gotta check with a few people'.

"So I jumped in and really enjoyed it. It was good to get out there and just play. It was obviously a different level and a different game that's played. They were a lot older than us but they were definitely having a crack at us. It was good to get out there and have fun."

Local reporters in Philadelphia confirmed in the days after the Greensborough game that Simmons, who scored 34 points in the outing, had been cleared to resume basketball activities.

Simmons will soon return to the US for pre-season as the Sixers prepare for the first of five practice games.

Having finished 14th in the 15-team Eastern Conference last season, Philadelphia will continue to develop as Simmons and 2017 No.1 overall pick Markelle Fultz debut and star centre Joel Embiid returns from injury.

"I feel good. I'm ready to go. I had a year off so a lot of people are maybe doubting me now but I'm ready to come back stronger than before," he said.

"I love the game so I'm always in the gym. Any time we can get in the gym and play or teach somebody something, I'm willing to do that.

"We have a great young team and a lot of guys who are willing to put in the work. I think we can do some great things in the future, so I'm looking forward to getting back to Philly and doing that work."


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