Back in 2017, iconic actor O'Shea Jackson Sr., the only and only Ice Cube, announced in NYC the inception of a 3-on-3 basketball league named "BIG3. Over the years, Clyde Drexler became a co-commissioner and Adidas agreed to be a premier partner. They now play in 18 cities and have three games per week. This past weekend, their 4th season was completed and it did not disappoint. To be honest, I am unsure why it doesn't have a bigger following? It's fast-paced, entertaining, gritty, and provides a second chance opportunity for former NBA stars to light up the floor.
13-year vet and recent player of the G-League Ignite, 37-year-old Jarrett Jack made the most of his rookie season in the BIG3. He earned Co-ROY honors and drained the winning shot for his team, the Trilogy, in the Championship.
Remember Joe Johnson? Although a couple of years removed from the NBA, the 7x All-Star has settled into the league quite nicely. He joined the BIG3 in 2019, immediately winning the MVP award and took home the championship for the Triplets. Now at 40 years old, just earned his second MVP after breaking the single-season scoring record. He suited up for Team USA on the FIBA squad this past winter, could these accolades propel him back to the NBA?
2008 NBA Champion and White Mamba, Brian Scalabrine, is now known mostly for his broadcasting work for the Celtics. In his free time, he's back on the court for the Ball Hogs. The BIG3 is also giving opportunities to NBA draft picks that never panned out. Greg Oden is establishing his defensive dominance on the Aliens. Former Bucks 1st round pick, Larry Sanders, won Defensive Player of the Year this past season. Even 52-year-old Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is feeling himself, and he co-captained the 3-Headed Monsters.
And that's just a few. Leandro Barbosa, Mario Chalmers, Jodie Meeks, Spencer Hawes, Nick Young, Nate Robinson, and Glen Davis headline the deep roster of former NBA talents. The coaching staff is even more loaded, including some notable players and legends like Gary Payton, Gilbert Arenas, Charles Oakley, Stephen Jackson, Lisa Leslie, and "Dr. J" Julius Erving.
Ice Cube is clearly on the right track, as the IOC debut the first annual 3x3 tournament at the Tokyo2020 Olympics last month. Similar to the BIG3, it was fast-paced and fun and decided by game-clinching shots. Who knows, maybe a championship squad could represent the USA in Paris 2024?