Basketball star chooses Merino wool

Basketball superstar Ben Simmons has launched a T-shirt made from Australian Merino wool.

Australian-born NBA All-Star Ben Simmons has collaborated with AWI to develop his first-ever merchandise: a high-performance T-shirt made from Australian Merino wool.

Basketballer Ben Simmons from Melbourne is currently Australia’s greatest sporting export and one of the most gifted players in the American NBA. Ben debuted in 2017 for the Philadelphia 76s and was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2018 and an NBA All-Star in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

His skill is praised by many including the legendary Magic Johnson who said of him: “Ben Simmons is the best all round player I’ve seen since Lebron James came out of high school straight to the NBA!” The 24-year-old’s high profile has also garnered him a large following on social media, with 5.4 million followers on Instagram alone.

In collaboration with AWI, Ben recently launched his first-ever merchandise: a T-shirt made from 100% super soft Australian Merino wool of 18.9 micron. Designed by Ben himself, the T-shirt seamlessly blends high-performance, sustainability and high fashion. The T-shirt carries the Woolmark seal of approval following a rigorous quality assurance process which guarantees fibre authenticity and long-life performance.

“We chose to work with Australian Merino wool because it’s a sustainable, ethically produced fibre that’s also incredibly high quality. It’s soft, odour resistant and temperature regulating, and it has an amazing drape,” Ben said.

“For me, you shouldn’t have to compromise between luxury and performance, and I’m proud that it’s produced in Australia, so Merino wool was a natural choice for the fabric.”

DESTINED TO SHOOT HOOPS

Ben’s American-born father, Dave, originally from the Bronx in New York, also had a professional basketball career, which saw him relocate to Australia in the late 1980s to play for the Melbourne Tigers. Dave met his Australian wife-to-be, Julie, and in 1996 Ben was born in Fitzroy.

The following year, the family moved north to Newcastle where Dave played for the Newcastle Falcons. Ben showed promise early on at basketball, playing for the Newcastle Hunter’s under-12 side, but he also played competitive rugby league. After the family moved back to Melbourne, when Ben was age 10, Ben continued to excel at basketball. He was also keen on Australian rules football and continues to be an avid supporter of the Essendon Bombers in the AFL.

At 15, Ben travelled to the USA to play amongst the world’s best high school basketball players, a time during which he realised his basketball future lay in the USA. He later joined Louisiana State University before being drafted #1 by the Philadelphia 76s in the NBA where he has shined.

GIVING BACK TO AUSTRALIA

Born and raised in Australia alongside his five siblings, Ben feels a responsibility to “give back” to kids in Australia. He has been running unique community and family focused basketball camps since 2017. With 1,400 participants across Sydney and Melbourne, the events offer Australian fans a unique basketball experience to learn from and interact with Ben.

In December, he also launched the Ben Simmons Family Foundation (BSFF), an Australian-based charitable organisation that has the core purpose of supporting programs that promote equal access for children to education, sport, wellness and technology.

The Ben Simmons Merino Wool T-shirt was born from the BSFF value ‘Do it with Heart’ – lead with heart, do the right thing and value that everything is connected. The T-shirt design centres around the mantra ‘equalize’ which is written on the back of the T-shirt in some of the many languages spoken and inspired by communities around the world that love and celebrate basketball.

The Ben Simmons Merino Wool T shirt was made available on the Hypebeast e-commerce store HBX.com on 29 April.

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