Sixers’ Ben Simmons further addresses New Zealand tragedy
Shocking news outside the world of basketball transpired Friday when reports came out that a mass shooting took place in New Zealand. 49 people have been reported dead from two mosques in the city of Christchurch. The assailant was discovered to be an Australian nationalist extremist, who shared footage of his assault on video along with his racist manifesto. One NBA player who’s greatly affected by this tragedy is Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons, who was born in Melbourne and whose mother is Australian.
Bleacher Report shared Simmons’ post-game conference after the Sixers home game against the Sacramento Kings, wherein the Aussie expressed his sympathies regarding the unfortunate incident that occurred near his home country:
Ben Simmons addressed recent New Zealand tragedy.
Simmons had "pray for New Zealand" written on game shoes today.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 16, 2019
“I grew up there (Australia), and I’ve been to New Zealand. Great people there… All over the world, there are people that are just living their lives. And for someone to take away 49, 48 people’s lives is just really sad.”
As a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack, Simmons also wrote “PRAY FOR NZ” on his sneakers prior to Friday’s game:
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 15, 2019
Playing inspired basketball, the 22-year-old would go on to score 18 points on 8-of-12 field goal shooting as the Sixers prevailed over the Kings, 123-114.
The NBA, being a global organization, will likely pitch into the cause in support of those who were slain in Christchurch. Several of the league’s past and present stars hailed from either Australia or New Zealand, and statements coming from those players will likely surface in the days to come as a show of solidarity from the sporting world.