There’s a photo of Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers and Dante Exum of the Utah Jazz floating around on the internet playing Call of Duty from their younger days in Australia that they would consider old school. While it’s amazing to think that two future NBA lottery picks were just kids once upon a time playing video games without a care in the world, keep in mind that that photo is at most 7 years old. Yes, we are now living in an era where playing CoD online with friends on a Playstation 3 is considered the good old days.

Anyways, Call of Duty WWII is out now for all the major platforms and it had quite the weekend; passing the $500 million mark in sell-through and became the best-selling digital game for the PS4 on its first day of availability. For most NBA players, especially those of Simmons’ generation, CoD is the game of choice and it’s a way for everybody to bond off the court. In the case of Simmons and Exum, however, it’s a chance to catch up and relive their childhood because they’ve been teaming up online for years.

This past Monday night, we caught up with Simmons (wearing Klutch Sports sandals) fresh off a late night Twitch Stream with Swiftor (in adidas Ultra Boosts) and Exum (rocking the Pharrell adidas Hu Tennis). Here’s what he had to say about the recently released WWII, life in the NBA now that he’s actually playing after missing out on his rookie year, and being a Nike athlete in this new era for the swoosh and the league.

His history with the Call of Duty franchise:

It was good, Dante and I played [Call of Duty] growing up so it was good finally play the newest for the first time in a while. It was good to catch up.  The first Call of Duty game I had was World At War. Dante put me up on that and now we just play every Call of Duty [that drops].

He’s all about the multiplayer:

No, I don’t really play the (campaign mode). I just like getting online and playing against my friends or other people. I don’t put my name out there. I have no need for people to know who I am. I just play…

On how he describes his strategy:

I’m aggressive, but I also use a sniper, so usually it’s one-hit. That’s my go-to move.

On moving the timeline back to World War II:

Yeah, it’s what I enjoy playing. I grew up playing (in that era), so it’s cool to go back to World War II. It’s fun to play, using old school equipment.

Who would win a hypothetical 2-on-2 battle between Ben and Dante against Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns:

I think Dante and I could win easily. We kind of do our own thing, but communication wise we are pretty good.

Does Joel Embiid play Call of Duty and does he talk smack:

No, he knows Call of Duty is not his game (laughs).

What he learned when he sat out his first year in the league now that he’s a “rookie” playing for the first time:

Just learning how to be a pro and learning how to take care of myself, that was a big deal for me. Once I got a hold of that, things just got a lot easier. Nothing really surprised me, I felt really comfortable playing against everybody in the league.

These nine games have been fun, nothing but fun for me. I’ve been enjoying, it’s what I want to do. It’s tough, but I’m enjoying it.

Obviously, he’s a LeBron guy based on his sneaker selection in college, but it’s more than that:

Well, he’s a bigger guy and his shoes used Zoom so I looked at it as I might as well use the same shoe. He’s a quick player and I’m kind of a similar in the way that I move so I felt like that was the shoe to go at the time.

On what led to him wearing the Hyperdunk 2017 this year:

It was my call. (Nike) sent me variety of shoes they wanted me to look at and I went with (the Hyperdunk). I think it was either the Hyperdunk 2013 or 12, but I’ve worn those before and technology has gotten better since. It’s light, it’s steady. I feel like I can get up and down the court with ease.

His choice of player exclusives:

Yeah, I like to change it up, I hate playing in plain shoes (laughs).

Would he ever wear Jordan retros on the court:

Nah, never (laughs).  I trust in Nike’s basketball shoes and their ability and I don’t want to go with anything I’m not familiar with on the court.

On Nike’s current jersey situation, which includes an incident where Simmons jersey tore off during a game:

I have no idea, honestly, I don’t make the jerseys (laughs). But playing in the jerseys, they’re comfortable, they’re light. They’re great to play in, it’s not like everybody’s jerseys ripping.

His current sneaker rotation off the court:

I’ve been wearing Air Maxes, Jordan 1s, and Flyknits. I’m definitely up to date with it and try to get all the latest Nikes as much as I can.

What was the last Nikes that he asked for:

Uh, I think it was some Pippens and Pennys…

His all-time fave kicks are…

I don’t really have a favorite shoe, I go with what looks good and works (on the court and style-wise) at the time.


images: Activision

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