Philadelphia 76ers Star Ben Simmons Is Latest Athlete To Invest In FaZe Clan

Esports company Faze Clan announced today that two-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons has joined a Series B funding round that has yet to close. 

The Philadelphia 76ers star is the latest basketball player to invest in Faze Clan, following the New Orleans Pelicans’ Josh Hart, the Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard and the Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray. Esports have been a hot destination for athletes to place their cash. Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, Alex Rodriguez and David Beckham are among those with stakes in competitive gaming companies. European soccer stars Antoine Griezmann of Barcelona and Mesut Ozil of Arsenal have started their own esports teams.

Faze Clan was ranked by Forbes in November as the fourth-most-valuable esports company. Terms of Simmons’ investment were not disclosed.

“My role with FaZe now goes much deeper than the initial investment,” says Simmons, adding that he was drawn to the company as a teenager because of its cool brand and came to believe in its family gaming culture. “I am going to bring it back to Australia and bring an international side to it. I also want to bring more kids into it.”

As a teenager in Australia, Simmons had his sights set on playing Call of Duty for a living for FaZe, letting the dream die as he sprouted into his 6-foot-10-inch frame and chose to pursue a career in basketball. He was selected first overall in the 2016 NBA draft by the Sixers. 

Speaking by phone from his Philadelphia home a week after a knee surgery that cut short his time in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Simmons recalled how he first connected with FaZe members through social media and started playing online with FaZe co-owner Thomas “Temperrr” Oliveira, now a good friend. Soon he was given the tag of “Ambassador,” reserved for celebrity influencers, and was repping the brand’s popular merchandise on social media and in the NBA. This past March, he participated in the company’s #Fight2Fund tournament joining gamers, celebrities and other athletes, including fellow NBA star Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers and NFL star JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, in a four-week Call of Duty battle that raised nearly $125,000 for pandemic relief funds.

As a gamer, Simmons, also announced as “FaZe Simmo” as of today, has gone by the name “SimmoTheSavage” and frequently live-streams on Twitch while playing Call of Duty to an audience of 47,700 followers. Now that he’s injured, he has a little more time for it.

“I have been gaming a lot at home while rehabbing,” says Simmons, who…

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