NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - LSU's freshman basketball phenomenon Ben Simmons was the big man on campus before he even officially began his freshman year in Baton Rouge. So far, he's backed up every bit of the hype, and that doesn't surprise the best player in the world one bit.
"He's a talented guy," says Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. "The coach at the university allows him to showcase his talent, and that's what he's capable of doing."
That's "King James'" laid-back way of saying Ben Simmons is the man and everyone knows it.
From the high-flying dunks we grew accustomed to seeing in highlights from his high school days at Montverde Academy to jaw-dropping passes that would make LSU quarterbacks envious of his accuracy, it's been a thrilling seven games so far, but again, this is old news to some.
"I watched him before he showed up in Baton Rouge,"James said. "I've been on him for three or four years now. He's an unbelievable talent."
Having worked a LeBron James basketball camp this summer, Simmons spent a lot of time around 2003's NBA number one draft pick. James recognizes that as a position Simmons will likely find himself in in the next few months. He says he welcomes the comparisons between the two, but also says there's more than meets the eye.
"People are just recognizing what he does on the floor, "James said. "But he's a great kid. He has a great family and great support system. That's why he's able to do what he does on the floor."
These are the types of generational bridges that make the NBA, and at times even the one-and-done nature of college basketball, so fun. Like young Kobe against veteran Jordan followed by veteran Kobe against young LeBron, Simmons entering the league at a time to square off against the likes of Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and of course, LeBron James, is going to be something special to witness.