Ben Simmons leads Philadelphia 76ers to the Eastern Conference semi-finals

Playing in front of a hometown crowd at the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Novocastrian and SFX alumni, Ben Simmons has played a key role in the 76ers 104-91 victory over the Miami Heat.

This means the 76ers have advanced to advance to the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals and this takes Ben a step closer to his goal of winning the NBA championship.

The 21-year-old has already exceeded everyone’s expectations in his rookie year. Such have been his successes that he has already been compared to NBA legends such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James to mention but a few.

Ben’s list of achievements were detailed in a recent article in Australian Men’s Health:

“The number one high school player in America - tick. The number one college player in America - tick. Selected number one in the 2016 NBA draft - tick. Now putting up historic rookie numbers to help propel the 76ers into the playoffs - tick.”

In addition to his list of “bests” and “number ones”, Ben’s number 25 jersey has made the list of the top-10 selling jerseys in the US, making him the only rookie to have ever made the list of top selling jerseys.

In the May issue of Men’s Health, which featured Ben on the front cover, the former St Francis Xavier Primary student talked about his meteoric rise in the NBA.

“You’ve got to set the bar high,” he said.

“If you don’t set it high, you’re not aiming high enough. Honestly. That’s the way I’ve thought since I came over here for high school.”

Born in Melbourne, Ben’s family relocated to Newcastle when he was just 18 months old. To this day, he still considers Newcastle to be one of his homes.

Speaking of his Aussie roots, Ben said: “I’ve got a lot of homes now. I kind of look at Australia as home, and not just Melbourne because I lived in Newcastle for a lot of my life.

“I still keep in contact with a few people I went to school with and played basketball with, so I’m still good friends with them.

“That’s my earliest memories of basketball, playing in the Newcastle Hunters’ gym. I’d definitely love to come back when I have time, for sure.”

Heading into the next round of the playoffs, the 76ers will face the winner of the Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks series in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Watch Ben’s highlights from game 5: