Jonathon Simmons: From Borrowing Money For His Kids’ Diapers To Becoming A Key Rotation Player In The NBA Within A Year
It was only a year ago that San Antonio Spurs wingman Jonathon Simmons was borrowing money for his children’s diapers, or even sometimes lunch for himself. Fast forward 12 months, and Simmons has landed an NBA contract with the Spurs, and is a key rotation player in a championship contending team.
As always, the Spurs went about their business this off season, very quietly as we’ve become accustomed to. Come opening night, they faced the new look Golden State Warriors, who are perhaps the biggest offensive juggernaut and collection of talent the league has ever seen. All the attention was on the Warriors, and what they would do to the Spurs, but how wrong they were. The Spurs started off brilliantly, and behind strong performances from Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, they blew out the Warriors and won by an impressive 29 points. Despite the good nights for Aldridge and Leonard, the game ball surprisingly went to Jonathon Simmons, who had the game of his life.
The Spurs were going to need something off the bench to lift them, and Simmons more than provided that. Known for his athleticism, defensive mindset and tenacity, Simmons also opened the offensive arsenal as he dropped in 20 points in 28 minutes consisting of 8/14 from the field (57%) and 3/5 from downtown (60%). One of those threes was a fade away clutch three pointer going into halftime after a hand off by Patty Mills, to give the Spurs enormous momentum going into the break. If that wasn’t enough, he added four rebounds, three assists and a monster LeBron-esque chase-down block on Steph Curry late in the game.
Greg Popovich saw something in Simmons, and believed he could really help the Spurs; (via Today’s Fastbreak)
“He’s pretty fearless,” Popovich said of Simmons. “He just goes and plays. It’s kind of like Manu [Ginobili]. He just dives into the game and he competes. He’s really got great athletic skills and he’s learning the game. Quick learner, good worker, he’s got a chance to be a longtime player in the league if he pays attention and sticks to it.”
Simmons says the approval of “Pop” is the ultimate compliment;
“Yeah, it does [make me feel good to hear him say that], but I just know my role and [that I] have to get better each and every day. Definitely hearing from a guy that has been in the NBA numerous years, so definitely good feedback for me and a confidence builder to keep me moving forward,” Simmons said.
No one anticipated this kind of extraordinary performance from Simmons, and the once D-League player has now cemented himself within the Spurs rotation in the hopes of obtaining the number one seed in the west.
It has been a long and painful journey, but his preservice is exemplary. After undergoing countless personal hardships, he is now reaping the rewards;
“Big pride, I think it’s very humbling for me and I appreciate this level probably way more than some others do, so I think it’s allowed me to appreciate things more and to stay humble,” Simmons said.
“It’s just with being human, everybody has doubt. But you have to have more faith than doubt. I just stayed positive through the tough times,” he said.
Another great NBA story, and we haven’t seen the last of him.