For those who were bored by this past NBA season, good news, real, competitive basketball is back. And for those who weren’t bored, why?
Either way, the Big3 basketball league tips off this Sunday, June 25, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. With a cast of players who were noteworthy in the early 2000’s, it promises to bring excitement, tension, fan engagement, and most importantly, nostalgia, back to the game of basketball.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Big3 league, it is billed as America’s professional 3-on-3 basketball circuit.
The idea is that 3-on-3 is the most commonly played form of basketball, outside of official league games, and provides the highest entertainment value. Most importantly, it allows older players to compete, without the stress of having to run up and down the court.
Big3 is the brainchild of rapper/producer/actor/writer/director/media mogul/business man/friend of Kevin Hart/inventor of basketball leagues, Ice Cube, which means it is a lock to be commercially successful.
For further proof of Ice Cube’s entertainment success, check out his bio on the Big3 basketball website here: Ice Cube Bio
It’s worth the read to see how obvious it is that whoever wrote the bio is working directly for Ice Cube, if it wasn’t written by Ice Cube himself.
As for the basketball, eight teams, with five players, will play each other in half court 3-on-3. Games will be up to 60, win by 2, with scoring by 2’s, 3’s and 4’s. That’s right there will be markers for 4 point baskets, just to be absolutely certain this league is detrimental to the fundamentals of basketball.
Each of the eight teams has a captain and a co-captain, these are the guys with the most recognizable names such as Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, and Corey Maggette. Each team also has a coach, some of whom include Dr. J, Charles Oakley, and Clyde Drexler.
On April 31, these co-captains and coaches selected the remaining 3 players for their teams in a draft.
Rashad Mccants, formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), Powerade Tigers (Phillipines), Strasbourg IG (France), Foshan Long Lions (China), Uberlandia Tenis Clube
(Brazil), Homenetmen Beirut (Lebanon), Trotamundos de Carabobo (Venezuela), and Caneros del Este (Dominican Republic), was the first overall pick by Kenyon Martin’s squad, Trilogy. Martin was obviously not that interested in team loyalty.
Starting June 25, and every Sunday for the next ten weeks, a different major basketball venue around the U.S. will host all four games. After week eight, the teams will be entered into a playoff bracket, which will be played out in weeks nine and ten.
The eliminated teams will still play to earn all spots 1-8, since players get paid based on where their team finishes overall. Thus, fans attending events in the later weeks will still get their money’s worth.
As someone who exclusively plays basketball video games from the early 2000’s, I’m well versed on the key players in the Big3. Combine that with the fact that I saw Ice Cube’s glorious sequel “Are We Done Yet,” twice in theaters, and I feel comfortable calling myself the world’s leading expert on the Big3 basketball league.
So, before the season kicks off, here are my predictions for what the standings wil
l look like at the end of the regular season (week 8), and as a result, the playoff seedings.
1. Killer 3’s
Coach: Charles Oakley
Captains: Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson
Players: Reggie Evans, Larry Hughes, Brain Cook
Chauncey and Stephen Jackson were on opposite sides of the “Malice at the Palace,” but they say friendships that have endured trials are the strongest. Plus, Reggie Evans was the first player in NBA history to post a 0 point, 20 rebound game, and Larry Hughes was ranked 13th best player to ever play on the Cavs with Lebron, in an article by Complex Sports, and Brian Cook plays basketball. All championship components.
2. 3 Headed Monsters
Coach: Gary Payton
Captains: Rashard Lewis, Jason Williams
Players: Kwame Brown, Eddie Basden, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
Tall guys who can shoot are a nightmare in 3-on-3, and Jason Williams might be the best passer in NBA history. Seriously look up any Jason Williams highlight reel. Plus, as everyone clearly remembers, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was only one shot away from setting the all-time single season free throw shooting record in the 1993-94 season.
3. 3’s Company
Coach: Allen Iverson
Captains: Allen Iverson, Dermarr Johnson
Players: Michael Sweetney, Ruben Patterson, Andre Owens
Let’s be honest, this league was created mostly with Allen Iverson in mind. But Iverson can’t do it all alone, and somehow, I think the coach won’t be great at motivating the rest of the team to practice.
Coach: Clyde Drexler
Captains: Corey Maggette, Cuttino Mobley
Players: Jerome Williams, Deshawn Stevenson, Moochie Norris
When Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley were teammates on the Clippers they basically just played like they were playing 3-on-3. It didn’t work then, but who cares, that was all in preparation for now, when it really matters.
5. Ghost Ballers
Coach: George Gervin
Captains: Mike Bibby, Ricky Davis
Players: Marcus Banks, Maurice Evans, Ivan Johnson
Bibby’s still chasing that championship he missed out on thanks to the worst officiated game in NBA history, Game 6 of the 2002 WCF against the Lakers. He must not want it bad enough though, or he wouldn’t have drafted the only basketball player since the beginning of time named “Ivan.”
Coach: Rick Mahorn
Captains: Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington
Players: Rashad McCants, James White, Dion Glover
Team Trilogy has a solid base with co-captains Martin and Harrington, but they proved something my fantasy teams been proving for a long time: The first overall pick in the draft can often be more of a curse than a blessing.
Coach: Julius Erving
Captains: Jermaine O’Neal, Bonzi Wells
Players: Xavier Silas, Lee Nailon, Mike James
Jermaine O’neal and Bonzi Wells could win with anyone … is what I would have said in 2003.
8. Ball Hogs
Coach: Rick Barry
Captains: Brian Scalabrine, Josh Childress
Players: Eric Byars, Rasual Butler, Dominic Mcguire
Make no mistake, Brian Scalabrine is the most underrated player in this league. Google the Brian Scalabrine “Scallenge,” it’s worth the watch. However, the Ball Hogs don’t seem to have much firepower and the most exciting thing to watch will be how many of them shoot underhand free throws.
Championship Game: 1. Killer 3’s vs. 3. 3’s Company. Killer 3’s wins 60-52.
Iverson gets hot and generates enough momentum to pull off a first round upset and challenge for the championship. But Mr. Big shot made it to 6 straight Eastern Conference finals, and if Brian Cook had been by his side back then, it could have been 10. The all around most balanced team, Killer 3’s, will win it all.
Week 1 tips off Sunday, June 25, at the Barclay’s Center. Games will be aired on Monday, June 26, at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.