Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday with Michelle Obama to promote Drink Up, a campaign from the Partnership for a Healthier America that encourages drinking water.
Curry and President Barack Obama have become close golf buddies over the past couple of years, so Ellen DeGeneres asked Curry who the better golfer was between the two. Before he could answer, the First Lady interjected and said, “Stephen.”
O’Neal said he’s familiar with Simmons’ game because he attended LSU, O’Neal’s alma mater. O’Neal compared Simmons’ unique skill set and potential on-court impact to that of arguably the best player in the world: Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.
“He’s a LeBron-type player,” O’Neal said Simmons, a 20-year-old forward. “What I mean by that, LeBron does a nice job of making everybody else around him better — passing the ball, doing the small things — and Ben is that type of player.”
Despite impressive averages of 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game — numbers not too far off of O’Neal’s collegiate production of 21.6 points, 13.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists over three seasons at LSU — Simmons was criticized because LSU failed to meet preseason expectations and missed the NCAA tournament.
O’Neal said he views Simmons’ freshman season differently, though.
“He took a lot of flack (sic), especially at LSU with not really taking over games,” O’Neal said. “But he’s young. He’ll get to that.
“When it comes to other aspects of the game, he’s very, very intelligent. He plays the game very well.”
In 1996, then-Denver Nuggets player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf created controversy when he refused to stand for the anthem before games, saying the flag was a symbol of oppression in the nation, and that the U.S. had a long history of tyranny.