Brand Ben is going strong, hey?
That’s our boy we’re talking about, NBA star Ben Simmons.
This Newcastle-raised basketball superstar has been popping up in the media quite a bit. He’s been doing the business, on and off the court.
It’s probably fair to say that Brand Ben is well on his way to becoming Billionaire Ben.
First, he was compared to superstars like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James, then he had a dazzling season in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, winning the coveted Rookie of the Year award.
Then came a nicely-timed romance with Kendall Jenner, of the Kardashian clan. This widely reported fling did his profile no harm at all.
Of course, the Kardashians know a thing or two about how to rake in cash from a TV series.
Our Ben might have picked up a few tips because it has now emerged that he’s set to become a consulting producer on a TV show. Simmons’ brother Sean Tribe will also be a consulting producer.
US TV network NBC is planning to make the comedy series, titled Brotherly Love.
It’ll be based on Simmons’ Brady Bunch-style family.
“Brotherly Love is inspired by the life of Ben Simmons and centres on a unique sibling relationship within a multi-ethnic family,” it was reported.
“Together, they pursue their dreams while navigating life in the spotlight in Philadelphia, a passionate city where sports is in your blood, and your blood is always boiling.”
For those who’ve been watching Ben’s career closely, on and off the court, it’s no surprise that the production company of NBA great LeBron James is behind the series. LeBron and Ben are tight.
LeBron and his business partner Maverick Carter will be executive producers on the TV series.
LeBron, now at the LA Lakers, seems set on becoming a Hollywood mogul-in-the-making type figure. Our Ben seems ready to follow in his footsteps.
And while these two megastars know how to earn a buck, perhaps this new TV series might also make a difference to society.
As racial divisions in the US continue to simmer, this show will depict a family that has built a bridge between black and white.
Ben’s dad, American basketballer Dave Simmons, moved to Australia to play with the NBL's Melbourne Tigers.
He met Tigers head cheerleader Julie, who was divorced and had four children. The couple then had Ben and his sister Olivia.
A happy family with different skin colours – what a mighty fine symbol for the United States and beyond.
We should remind readers that Ben only became “our Ben” because Dave Simmons played for the Newcastle Falcons and coached the Hunter Pirates.
The family moved to Newcastle when Ben was 18 months old. He learnt to play basketball at Broadmeadow and became a Newcastle Hunters junior, while his father coached the Pirates.
So, depending on how far back the series goes in the life of the Simmons family, Newcastle might get a guernsey.
Flying the Flag
Hamilton Hawks flags have been spotted around Maitland ahead of the Hunter’s rugby union grand final on Saturday.
The Hawks will take on the Maitland Blacks in the decider.
The Hawks’ Facebook page shows their flags in several spots around Maitland. There’s even a Hawks flag draped over the sign for Marcellin Park, which is Maitland’s home ground.
“Talk about getting in the head of your competition!” said a Topics spy, who tipped us off about the flags.
One bloke said on Facebook that he took one of the flags to Maitland tip, but “even they wouldn't take it”.
We have to say, this flag offensive is pretty funny and probably adds a bit to the competition between the teams.
But we have to wonder whether it’ll give the Maitland boys a tad more motivation.
What is a pilot’s favourite meat pie? Plain.
Why do bananas need sunscreen? Because they peel.
What type of factory makes average products? A satisfactory.