AUSTRALIAN NBA star Ben Simmons has revealed he had to make a real decision about whether to pursue an AFL or basketball career. 

While he ultimately chose basketball, he did play both sports as he grew up in Melbourne.

"I remember Mum and Dad talking to me about it," Simmons tells Channel Nine's 60 Minutes in an interview to air on Sunday night.

"Dad always knew I was going to play basketball, so for me I always knew inside I wanted to play basketball and get to that next level and compete against the best."

The 21-year-old's proud mum Julie admits she would have liked to have seen Ben in Bombers colours.

"I love footy," she says.

"I think football might have been a nice back-up perhaps."

The Philadelphia 76ers guard has at least taken some of his AFL skills to the NBA stage.

"Yeah, I've dropped a couple (of) people but then it comes out at the wrong time, but it's just the way I play. I think that physicality side of footy has definitely translated to basketball."

Simmons confirmed he still barracks for Essendon.