Interview: The Top High School Basketball Players Talk Sneakers, Hoops, and MJ at the Jordan Brand Classic Photo by Bryan Horowitz

Ben Simmons

If you’re looking for the Next Big Thing, there’s a very good chance Simmons is just that. Just a sophomore, some have compared the native of Melbourne, Australia, to Tracy McGrady, while his coach Kevin Boyle at Montverde Academy likens him to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Way ahead of his time as a passer and defender, Simmons led the Jordan Classic International Game in rebounding with 11.

Coming from Australia, how do you find the sneaker culture over here at the camps and games you go to?

It’s always great to get all the sneakers and stuff, though I’m mostly here just to play and have fun. I’ve been going to a lot of events since I’m over here (in America) now, so I’m usually getting sneakers from Nike and stuff, the LeBron camp, Adidas – so I guess it’s just one of the things that comes with it.

Is getting Jordans a little more special than anything else?

I’d say so. It’s Michael Jordan’s event, so…

In terms of that, I know you’re a little young – even younger than the rest of these guys – but what does Michael Jordan mean to you?

I’d call him a legend, I guess. I haven’t really watched his games personally, though I’ve watched some footage of him… I just know he’s the greatest player to ever play the game, so he’s a guy I look up to. Like, LeBron plays on that physical level, but Jordan’s a step above him. I guess, if it wasn’t for Jordan, there would be no LeBron or Kobe, who plays like that.

What has been your favorite aspect of this week?

I guess it was just seeing my family, because my dad’s from New York, so I’ve got a lot of family over here.

Having had this experience, are you planning to go back and go watch some film of Jordan?

Maybe a little bit… I’ve definitely got some footage on my phone of him.

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