October 24, 2017

What is Ben Simmons’ race and background — is he of mixed race?

2016/06/20 11:25 am 311:25 am0 1 comment

Ben Simmons mixed race biracial

You’ll be certainly hearing Ben Simmons’ name early in the upcoming NBA Draft — many mock drafts are predicting the lefty Australian to be the #1 selection. As of this post, the top pick will be between him and Duke’s Brandon Ingram and that won’t likely change between now and Thursday.

Simmons potential and talent aren’t in question, but when his name is called, many will wonder — what is Ben Simmons’ background? As in, what is his race and ethnicity? We’ll try our best to gather as much information so we can make as informed answer to the question of whether Ben Simmons is of mixed race.

ben-simmons and his mom Julie Blake

Ben Simmons’ Dad

Not unlike Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Ben Simmons dad was also a star basketball player. Though Dave Simmons never played in the NBA, the Bronx-raised (a borough in New York City) Simmons would end up playing in several professional leagues in South and Central America before making his way Down Under.

Simmons was a star in the NBL, Australia’s National Basketball League and is one of two American imports that is credited with bringing the Melbourne Tigers to prominence in the early 1990s:

Dave Simmons was a legend… who, together with fellow American import Dave Colbert – called themselves The Double Ds – transformed a losing culture at the Melbourne Tigers to the team’s first championship in 1993. “I was very physical. Finesse wasn’t my thing,” Dave admits.

Ben Simmons recently gave big props to his father for the opportunity to succeed:

“This journey to the NBA draft brings us full circle. Because of your hard work I have opportunities that you didn’t have. And for that I am grateful beyond words.”

Ben Simmons and his parents father and mother

Ben Simmons’ Mom

While in Melbourne, Dave would meet Julie Blake at a gym in 1991.

When Dave Simmons met Julie Blake, she was one of the Lady Tigers dancers, an aerobics instructor, divorced and already had four children from a previous marriage. “I don’t know what you were thinking,” Julie said to him in a Campus Rush interview “You must not have been on your A game.”

Three years later they were married and added two children, Ben and Olivia, to their family of six.

Is Ben Simmons Mixed Race?

Like Curry and Thompson, there are plenty of basketball fans that are curious about Ben Simmons’ background and racial identity.

To answer that question, let’s recap what we know. Dave Simmons is an African-American born in New York City whom moved to Australia to play professional basketball. There, he met Julie Blake, an Australian that looks to be Caucasian. Taking the available information into consideration, it looks like Ben Simmons is of biracial with a mix of African-American and Australian.

As we mentioned in previous posts about racial identity. Our attempts to identify a player’s racial background and identity is solely a move to provide information to better understand the many layers of race. Though the information in the above post may be used to add fuel to negative stereotyping and generalizations, we believe that our posts for the most part, further conversations and understanding of race. Let us know what you think in the comments below.


1 Comment

  • AD Powell

    Anyone who “looks Caucasian” IS Caucasian. What’s with this white purity nonsense of “looks to be Caucasian”? It’s DNA that determines “mixed-race” regardless of what the parents CALL themselves.

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