Jonathon Simmons had a great game in the Spurs season opener against the Golden State Warriors. For the fans, it was an exciting showing of a young sensation that the Spurs picked up on the cheap. For Simmons, it was the affirmation of years of struggle and sacrifice to make his way into the league.
Simmons played at two different community colleges before finding his way onto the University of Houston roster. He declared for the draft in 2012 but didn’t get a shot from any team. He ended up playing in the American Basketball League to stay fit.
The ABL isn’t popular at all and as a result Simmons contract only paid $20,000 a year. He struggled to get by. Then, in February, he found out he’d have a shot to try out for the D-League, but would have to pay $150 dollars to do so. He scrapped together the money and killed it in his try out.
He got a shot at the Austin Spurs, and a year later signed a $1.4 million contract for the San Antonio Spurs. It’s a small contract by NBA standards, but given that Simmons had to pay $150 just for the chance to try out, it probably means the world to him. He’s impressed so far, and if he continues to, he’ll be able to get a big contract next summer when he renegotiates.