Australia-based NBA players Ben Simmons and Patty Mills faced racism in their home country, but it goes unnoticed in the USA.
Ben Simmons is one of the NBA’s top prospects since he was selected number 1 overall in 2016 by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Simmons is of mixed race. His father, Dave, played professional basketball in Australia. Although he holds dual citizenship Simmons plays for the Australian national team, like his fellow countrymen Patty Mills, a FIBA legend and NBA veteran, who now plays for the Brooklyn Nets.
Both Simmons and Mills pride themselves in representing Australia, but being of mixed ethnicities both of them have struggled with racism in their home country.
Patty Mills in a recent interview with JJ Reddick talked about his struggle with racism
In his interview with the recently retired NBA player JJ Reddick, Mills described his struggle growing up being an Indigenous Australian.
He said: “For Indigenous Australians or Black Australians, the success rate for anything in life isn’t great.”
“I remember walking in the first day of school, me and mum, mum walked me to the class, the biggest guy in the class just walks up to me and uppercuts straight to my gut, took the wind out of me, just for no other reason (than his appearance/race)”
“I was in for a roller coaster of a childhood”
“The better I got in sports,” Mills said in another interview, “the worse the racism got.”
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) September 29, 2021
He continued to get racially targeted even in the United States. Once, while playing in an NBA game in Cleveland.
Mills has since been a voice against racism and police brutality. In 2020, he helped launch “We Got You”, a campaign to show support for athletes as they fight racism in Australian sport. He also gave about $1 million to Black Lives Matter Australia and Black Deaths in Custody.
Ben Simmons struggled with racism in Australia
According to the NBA’s official website, Simmons shared his own experiences with being, “singled out.”
He then tweeted about the incident as well,
As you know an incident happened last night at Crown and my friends and I felt personally singled out, no one likes to feel like this. I am very passionate about equality and I will always speak up even if it means having uncomfortable conversations.
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) August 6, 2019
Racism, in the NBA, the United States, Australia, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, has been a global concern in recent years. There has to be an end to it, not just because we are facing a far bigger existential crisis, but because we are better than that.