A palpable buzz has surrounded social media regarding rapper, actor, producer and entertainer extraordinaire Ice Cube’s new 3-on-3 league that will commence its first weekend of action on Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The league, dubbed BIG3, features several former NBA standouts, headlined by 2001 NBA MVP, 11-time All Star and four-time scoring champion Allen Iverson (who didn’t even bother to show up to the league’s draft event).
Former National Basketball Players Association deputy director and NBA veteran Roger Mason Jr. is taking on the role of president and commissioner.
The eight-team league will travel to 10 cities across the country each Sunday until Aug. 26. For now, trhe league’s championship is scheduled on the same date and at the same Las Vegas venue as the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor super-fight.
Games will feature a 4-point shot and be played to 60 points with a short half-time once a team reaches the 30-point threshold – adding several unconventional twists to the half-court format.
Here’s an overview of each squad.
3’s Company – Players: Allen Iverson (captain), Dermarr Johnson (co-captain), Andre Owens, Mike Sweetney, Rueben Patterson
Coach: Allen Iverson
Reserve: David Hawkins
Take: With AI as a player-coach, some online sportsbooks have 3’s Company as the odds-on favorite to take home the first BIG3 championship. As head coach, don’t expect Iverson to be holding many practices. The other five players on the team: Johnson, Owens, Sweetney, Patterson and Hawkins had limited success at the NBA level.
3 Headed Monsters – Players: Rashard Lewis (captain), Jason Williams (co-captain), Kwame Brown, Eddie Basden, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
Coach: Gary Payton
Reserve: Hakim Warrick
Take: Jason Williams can flat out still play. The former Sacramento King’s All-Star passing magician will certainly have no problem finding career 39 percent three-point shooter Rashard Lewis behind the arc for some open looks. Helping “White Chocolate” with his ball-handling responsibilities will be former NBA point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. First overall selection in the 2001 draft Kwame Brown returns to the hardwood after last playing in the NBA for the 76ers in 2013. Head coach Gary “The Glove” Payton is likely to stress defense. Just as likely is that these players will not listen.
Ghost Ballers – Players: Mike Bibby (captain), Ricky Davis (co-captain), Mo Evans, Marcus Banks, Ivan Johnson
Coach: George Gervin
Reserve: Joe Smith
Take: This team is a bit thin, but will benefit from the fact that Mike Bibby simply has the clutch gene. People also tend to forget that Ricky Davis was an extremely solid NBA player, averaging 13.5 points per game in an 11 year career. Evans and Marcus both enjoyed respectable NBA careers, while Johnson currently plays abroad in Lebanon. Joe Smith, another former first overall NBA draft selection, will serve in a reserve capacity for the Ballers.
Ball Hogs – Players: Brian Scalabrine (captain), Josh Childress (co-captain), Derrick Byars, Rasual Butler, Dominic McGuire
Coach: Rick Barry
Reserve: Desmon Farmer
Take: The White Mamba is baaaaaaack. That is all.
Tri-State – Players: Jermaine O’Neal (captain), Bonzi Wells (co-captain), Xavier Silas, Lee Nailon, Mike James
Coach: Julius “Dr. J” Erving
Reserve: Lou Amundson
Take: With Dr. J leading this group, you know they will have a little extra flair. It will be very interesting to see how Jermaine O’Neal looks in action after he was forced to retire following a gruesome knee injury suffered in the 2014 NBA playoffs as a member of the Golden State Warriors. Out of the rest of the group, Bonzi Wells, Mike James and reserve Lou Amundson enjoyed the most NBA success.
Power – Players: Corey Maggette (captain), Cuttino Mobley (co-captain), Jerome Williams, Deshawn Stevenson, Moochie Norris
Coach: Clyde Drexler
Reserve: Paul McPherson
Take: Back in the early 2000s, Corey Maggette was an elite NBA scorer for the Los Angeles Clippers. He will be reunited with his former Clippers teammate Cuttino Mobley as the duo hopes to have more success in terms of winning during their second go around together. Deshawn Stevenson, who last played in the NBA in 2013, will also be a useful piece for Clyde Drexler and company.
Killer 3s – Players: Chauncey Billups (captain), Stephen Jackson (co-captain), Reggie Evans, Larry Hughes, Brian Cook
Coach: Charles Oakley
Reserve: Eddie Robinson
Take: According to league founder Ice Cube, Chauncey Billups will not be participating in this year’s season amid speculation that he’s going to be the next general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. As of now, it is unclear who will serve as his replacement on this team. In any case, the Killer 3s will be left to rely on Stephen Jackson to initiate their offense. Gritty forward Reggie Evans, who played a 13-year NBA career with the same aggression as his new head Charles Oakley, will clean up the glass and hopefully set some vicious screens. Larry Hughes also provides some scoring punch for the Killer 3s. The journeyman shooting guard averaged 22 points per game for the Wizards in 2004-05.
Trilogy – Players: Kenyon Martin (captain), Al Harrington (co-captain), Rashad McCants, James White, Dion Glover
Coach: Rick Mahorn
Reserve: Jannero Pargo
Take: With Kenyon Martin and James “Flight” White on this team, Trilogy will be throwing down several ferocious dunks. Recently, Rashad McCants blamed his underwhelming NBA career on the “Kardashian Curse,” so there’s that.