Basketball Australia has today confirmed that Philadelphia 76ers star, Ben Simmons, will not suit up for the Boomers at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Simmons made the decision to concentrate on developing and expanding his limited skillset following a disastrous NBA Playoffs run, culminating in the #1 ranked Sixers loss to the 5th seed Atlanta Hawks.
The 24-year old has been the subject of trade rumours ever since.
Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said that whilst Simmons was an important member of the squad, "we understand and support his decision."
“The best thing for everybody right now is for him to go on and develop that skill package and improve in a couple of areas for his next season in the NBA, but the Boomers are always here for him. We wanted him to know that in his time of need, the culture and the guys here are behind him and support him."
“It is a pretty rough time for him right now and I know it is something that he wanted to do, but the timing just hasn't worked," said Goorjian.
Australian basketball legend, Patty Mills, followed suit.
“As a teammate, as a fan and as a supporter, we all want to see our best players putting on the green and gold and for me in particular, having that thought even to be able to share the court with Benny at some stage in the green and gold, is something I am always going to look forward to and unfortunately now is not going to be the time, and that is OK,” said Mills.
Classy, powerful message from @Patty_Mills on the announcement of Ben Simmons withdrawal from the Boomers Olympic squad.
— Zero Digital Sports (@ZDMSportsAU) June 28, 2021
“The number one fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben isn't an exception to that. No matter what he does, myself and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that now more than ever, we need to support Ben on his journey."
Simmons is the third member of the extended squad to withdraw from the Olympic Games following Ryan Broekhoff (mental health) and Isaac Humphries (knee) last week.
BOOMERS OLYMPIC SQUAD