Ben Simmons: Australian casino denies racial discrimination of NBA star

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Ben Simmons poses with his 2017-2018 NBA Rookie of the Year award at a media eventImage source, Huw Evans picture agency
Image caption,
Ben Simmons posted a video on Instagram which he has since deleted

An Australian casino has denied an apparent assertion by NBA player Ben Simmons that he was denied entry to the venue due to racial discrimination.

The Philadelphia 76ers star posted a video online on Monday of himself and friends at Melbourne's Crown Casino.

In the now-deleted video, Simmons appears to say that he and his black friends were asked for identification whereas his white friend was not.

The casino said it "strenuously rejects" any claims of discrimination.

In a statement on Tuesday, Crown said it conducted identification checks to ensure customers were not aged below 18.

"The group subsequently provided identification and were permitted entry," it said.

The footage showed Simmons pointing to the only white member of his group, and saying: "I find it so crazy that the only guy who doesn't get checked to go into the casino is this guy.

"They didn't let me in, or him, or him, or this guy. Wow, we've got a long a way to go."

Simmons, who was born in Melbourne, also rejected a commentator's suggestion on Tuesday that he was denied entry because he had breached a dress code by wearing camouflage pants.

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Simmons was the top overall pick in the NBA draft in 2016.

He is believed to be Australia's highest-paid athlete after signing a US$170m (£140m) five-year contract extension with the 76ers last month.

Media caption,

Basketball star LeBron James says racism is hidden but alive

The dual US-Australian citizen has also played national matches for Australia. He is yet to confirm whether he will represent Australia in the World Cup in China later this month.