A competitive 3 on 3 league created by ICE Cube filled with former NBA champions and former all-stars and Hall of Famers has excitement written all over it. In January of 2017, actor and music mega star Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz announced the launch of the BIG 3 league. A competitive 3 on 3 league with some of the leagues greatest players to ever play the game. Cube and Kwatinetz shared the same vision for innovation and entertainment. They have been adding some of the most exciting former NBA players like 5 time all-star and Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, Metta World Peace (Formerly Ron Artest) , 11 time all-star and 4 time scoring champ Allen Iverson, and 6 time all-star Jermaine O’Neal. Also adding coaches like 12 time all-star and 4 time scoring champ George Gervin, 16 time all-star and 4 time MVP Julius Erving (Dr. J), and 17 year veteran and 9 time all-star Gary Payton. The lineups and coaches are outstanding and are going to be exciting to watch. There are 8 teams in the League, 3’s Company, Ball Hogs, Trilogy, Tri City, The Ghost Ballers, The Killer 3’s, Power, and the 3 Headed Monster. The BIG 3 so far has a total of 75 All-Star appearances, 4 MVP’s, 2 Finals MVP’s, 11 Championships, and 5 Hall of Famers combined amongst the players and coaches in the league. Not too shabby for only two season’s so far. The best part about this league is that it is not only about getting back into the game but it is also about giving back. In year 2, BIG 3 is launching YOUNG3, an initiative for youth kids. Cube teamed up with Addidas and is very proud of what this league stands for.
Before we dig into the teams in the BIG 3 league let’s first go over some of the rules. There will be the usual 2 and 3 point shots but there is also a 4 point shot of 30 feet and there are 3 designated 4 point shot areas. Halftime starts when the first team gets to 30 points and the game ends when the first team gets to 60 points and you must win by 2 points. If you get fouled shooting a 3 you get to take a freebie 3 point shot and same with a 2 point foul. All fouls are credited to a team, once a team gets to 5 fouls in a half the other team gets to shoot two free throws. BIG 3 league has a pickup game type of vibe. If a shot is missed the rebounding team has to take the ball to the top of the key unless it is an air ball. Real fast paced half-court basketball with some future Hall of Famers and current Hall of Famers. Lets get to the teams representing ICE Cube’s new brand, the BIG 3 league.
Breaking down the teams in the 2018 season, we start with defending champions Trilogy led by Captain Kenyon Martin. They tore through the first season going undefeated led by former NBA champion and 18 year NBA veteran, Coach Rick Mahorn. They ended up beating the 3 headed monster led by coach and 9 time all-star Gary Payton and captains Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams. Pretty solid cast for a 3 on 3 finals. They look poised to repeat in 2018. Co-Captains Al Harrington and Rashad McCants will look to help Kenyon carry this squad. Rashad McCants was the first overall pick in the inaugural BIG 3 season and didn’t disappoint scoring a game high 22 points in the championship game. McCants led North Carolina to a NCAA Championship and led the ACC in scoring as a sophomore. McCants has taken his talents to the BIG 3 and dominated in the first season of the BIG 3 league. He finished 4th in scoring and 6th in 3 pointers. Trilogy also had the cousin of teammate Al Harrington, Dahntay Jones, Dion Glover, and James White, 2017 BIG 3 defensive player of the year, rounding out the defending Champions squad heading into 2018.
The 3 Headed Monster was last years runner-up. Led by the reigning MVP, Rashard Lewis, he looks to pickup where he left off. Except this time he hopes to win the championship game. Replacing former co-captain Jason Williams with 2017 rebounding champ Reggie Evans. Evans led the league in 4 categories in the leagues first year, rebounds, offensive rebounds, field goal percentage, and double double’s. Lewis led the league in scoring at 21 points per game. New member to the BIG 3 league is former Wildcat standout, Salim Stoudamire, brother of Damon Stoudamire. Salim is a pure shooter who is second in UofA school history in 3 pointers made behind Steve Kerr.
After breaking down the top two teams from 2017 lets look at the rest of the field. After finishing 2017 at 3-5, 3’s Company looks to rebound in 2018. DerMarr Johnson has been promoted from Co-Captain to Captain and has brought Baron Davis on to be the Co-Captain with Drew Gooden. They are led by head coach Michael Cooper, the only person in the world to win a championship as a player, coach in the NBA, WNBA, and NBA D-League. Michael Cooper was the defensive stopper for the ‘Showtime’ Lakers. He was DPOY and was an all-defensive player 5 times. Larry Bird said he was the best defender he had ever seen. Cooper looks to continue his coaching dynasty in the BIG 3 league. Rounding out 3’s Company is Andre Emmett, Jason Maxiell, and Derrick Byars.
At the end of the day, I just wanna hoop… Hearing about the fun they had this past summer really made me excited to suit up. I have a lot of basketball left, and this is a great opportunity to fill that void I’ve been missing- Baron Davis
The Ball Hogs never seemed to get going in 2017. High expectations going into 2018 with Co-Captain Brian Scalabrine returning as more of a player/coach, similar to Jackie Moon from Semi-Pro. Scalabrine prefers to go by the name “White Mamba”. Joining Scalabrine as Co-Captains are former Stanford star Josh Childress and Deshawn Stevenson. Stevenson had a breakout 2017 season that the Ball Hogs rewarded Stevenson by naming him Co-Captain in 2018. Stevenson led the BIG 3 league in 3 pointers made at 32, averaging 15.9 ppg. He became one of the leagues best sharp shooters also hitting 3 game-winning shots. Joining Scalabrine, Childress, and Stevenson is Andre Owens, Corsley Edwards, and Jermaine Taylor. Andre Owens, surprisingly, was the only player in the league to finish top 5 in scoring (15 ppg), rebounds, steals, assists, and blocks. Leading this team is head coach and NBA and ABA legend 12 time all-star Rick Barry.
The Ghost Ballers have a pretty talented squad as well. The Ballers are led by 14 year veteran , Captain Mike Bibby. Coached by former MVP and 9 time all-star, George Gervin, The Ghost Ballers welcome new Co-Captain Carlos Boozer to go with returning Co-Captain, high-flyer and 12 year NBA veteran, Ricky Davis. They finished 3rd in 2017 and now look to take it two steps further. Other players on The Ghost Ballers are Marcus Banks (8 Seasons), Lee Nailon (6 Seasons), and Mario West (4 Seasons). Bibby, Boozer, and Davis will have to carry this squad due to the lack of size.
My Vote for the most physical and scariest team has to go to the Killer 3’s led by Captain and former finals MVP and 5 time all-star Chauncey Billups. Although they went 2-6 last year, they played very tough, close games. They added new Co-Captain Ron “Meta World Peace” Artest to boost the defense and rebounding. Also returning is Co-Captain, Steven Jackson, a 14 year NBA veteran. Jackson had a MVP type of season in 2017 averaging 20 ppg. Second to MVP Rashard Lewis. Also on the Killer 3’s is 7 footer Ryan Hollins, Mike James, and Alan Anderson. Don’t count out the Killer 3’s because of their big shot players like Chauncey and lock down defenders like Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson. Having tough guy Charles Oakley as your coach doesn’t hurt either.
Power, didn’t have a terrible first season at 4-4 in 2017. They had some makeover in 2018 by bringing in former SEC Player of the Year, Glen “Big Baby” Davis. They are led by 14 year veteran, Corey Maggette, who missed half of the first season. The other Co-Captain alongside Davis is 11 year veteran Cuttino Mobley. Also representing Power is 3 point threat, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Gomes, and the “Bird Man” Ryan Anderson. Power is led by Nancy Lieberman. Lieberman was a 3 time All-American at Old Dominion, earning the nickname “Lady Magic”. She’s in the Naismith Hall of Fame. Coach Lieberman took over the duties for Clyde Drexler, who is now the Commissioner of the BIG 3 league now, earning a promotion by signing a 3 year deal.
I wholeheartedly believe in what Ice Cube and Jeff have brought to life with the Big3… The level of play and the professionalism I witnessed last season far exceeded anything that many of us involved ever imagined.- Clyde Drexler on the BIG 3 League
Finally, we get to Tri City, who might have the most talented team in the field. Talent plus the best coach Dr. Julius Erving. Dr. J was a former MVP and only player to win the MVP in the NBA and ABA. Also known for his ‘above the rim’ style of play that revolutionized the game today. Jermaine O’Neal has done some re-tooling this off-season by adding two new Co-Captains in Amar’e Stoudemire and Nate Robinson. Also returning is Bonzi Wells, the team’s top rebounder and league’s steal leader. The final two players on Tri City are Robert Hite and David Hawkins.
This is just the beginning for ICE Cube and the BIG 3 league. He has the name recognition and the former NBA players to make this league great. You have Hall of Famers and All-Stars on every team in this league. Fans don’t want to see another exhibition like an all-star game. That’s just boring. The BIG 3 is different because it is a competitive league filled with competitiveness and star power. Some of the players in the league never made it to the NBA but dominated in college or D-League or Overseas. This gives fans a chance to watch some of their favorite players play in a league created by one of our all-time favorite entertainers, ICE Cube. There is no doubt that he will put a top notch on-court product out there that will make this league relevant and entertaining. Make sure all you hoops fans stay tuned June 22nd for the start of it’s sophomore season.