Ben Simmons has entered the NBA in dominating fashion, averaging 18.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.3 steals and 0.8 blocks in his first 20 games. These are numbers from a rookie that the league hasn’t seen since the rookie year of a young 18-year old LeBron James in the 2003-04 NBA season. The Philadelphia 76ers have gotten off to a solid start this season in comparison to their lackluster seasons previously, they are 12-9 in their first 21 games and currently sit at 5th place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Sixers have been led by the skills of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, two young talents with a very bright future.

Simmons is already a spectacular player in this league due to his height, strength, speed, and athleticism which is similar to that of LeBron James. And he has received a huge compliment from the man himself.

LeBron has high hopes for Ben

Ben Simmons has already made a strong impact on the NBA, with significant performances in his first 20 games. Although Simmons is three years older than King James was when he entered the league, he is arguably having a better rookie season to this point than Cleveland’s own had. LeBron to this point averaged more points, blocks and shot the ball at a higher percentage from the free throw line than Ben has so far in his rookie season. However, the Australian forward is averaging more rebounds, assists, steals and is shooting a higher field goal percentage than the King did as a rook.

It’s a small sample size, but it has gained the attention of LeBron himself, and as someone who has known Ben since he was a young teenager, James told Simmons something he probably won’t forget anytime soon.

LeBron James told Ben Simmons: “You have an opportunity to be better than me.”

High praise

LeBron James is certainly not a guy who has gone on record saying many things like this.

He has given many players compliments in the past and has given them words of advice, but it’s very rare that he has told anyone that he believes they can be better than himself, a man who strives to be the greatest player to step foot on the hardwood. But this is exactly the way he feels about Ben Simmons, and is similar to how Kevin Durant told Giannis Antetokounmpo that he can be the greatest of all time, so too did LeBron for Simmons.

Obviously, there is a lot of work to do if Simmons wants to even be discussed in the same sentence as LeBron James one day. But he has the opportunity to strive for it, and like he said, he doesn’t want to be compared to LeBron right now, he is just a rookie, but he will do his best to be the best player he can over the course of his career.