NBA star Ben Simmons: College sports is a dirty business

  • Of his days at LSU, Simmons said it bothered him to see his jersey for sale and his likeness on billboards when NCAA rules didn't allow him to profit.
  • "It's a dirty business," he says. "I felt like it was really sneaky."
Graham Betchart has worked with Ben Simmons (pictured) of the Philadelphia 76ers as part of his work as a mental coach to top NBA players.
Mitchell Leff | Getty Images
Graham Betchart has worked with Ben Simmons (pictured) of the Philadelphia 76ers as part of his work as a mental coach to top NBA players.

NBA star Ben Simmons has some choice words for the NCAA.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Simmons came to the U.S. to play professional basketball but, because of the league rule that a player must be 19 years old and at least a year out of high school before entering the draft, he started for Louisiana State University.

While at LSU, Simmons was outspoken about his reason for being there: To fulfill the one-year requirement before going pro. "I would have learned a lot more being around professional athletes," he said of that time.

In a conversation with Maverick Carter in an episode of "Kneading Dough," a new series by Chase and digital media company Uninterrupted, Simmons said it bothered him to see his jersey for sale and his likeness on billboards around Louisiana, when NCAA rules didn't allow him to profit from his image.

"It's a dirty business," he said. "I felt like it was really sneaky."

Simmons went on to be the first overall 2016 NBA draft pick and plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. "Now I have the opportunity to control [my image] and what I do and who I work with," he said.

Ben Simmons, first overall 2016 NBA draft pick, surrounded in the social media room.
Eric Chemi | CNBC
Ben Simmons, first overall 2016 NBA draft pick, surrounded in the social media room.

Since going pro, Simmons has worked with financial advisors and negotiated a deal with Nike, worth $20 million, according to published reports.

But that doesn't mean he has no financial regrets. His biggest misstep: purchasing two rare Savannah cats, which cost $10,000 together. "It was a bad purchase," he admitted.

Simmons shared the lessons he learned in the latest episode of the "Kneading Dough" series. Earlier episodes featured tennis great Serena Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers' superstar LeBron James and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors.

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