BARCLAYS Center played host to the debut of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of retired stars on Sunday, with a 15,000+ crowd turning up to cheer on the hoop heroes from the 90’s and 00’s. LL Cool J, James Harden, D’Angelo Russell and Whoopi Goldberg were among the celebrities in attendance as the first round of the BIG3’s 10 week schedule, with a slew of notable NBA names headlined by Allen Iverson, got underway.
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THE night commenced with some Rashard Lewis (27 points) heroics as the former Supersonic/Magic stud converted a three point play to seal a win for the 3 Headed Monsters over Mike Bibby’s Ghost Ballers. Mike Bibby did hit two 4-point shots, another exciting element added to the game and Kwame Brown (17 points, 13 rebounds) came up big alongside Lewis. The game was marred slightly by Jason Williams injuring his knee and it was clear that this league is going to involve guys throwing themselves around with plenty of physicality.
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GAME 2 also saw an injury to a former NBAer, this time to former lottery pick Corey Maggette. His team Power were able to top Tri-State in the closest match of the night. With both teams racing to reach 60, and the scores at 59-58, DeShawn Stevenson (20 points) pulled up and canned a game winning three for Power. Stevenson stole most of the headlines on Sunday, as he looked like he was out here hustling for a 10-day contract. Jermaine O’Neal (18 points) was the best player for the 0-1 Tri-State.
IVERSON drew a large portion of the fans to the Brooklyn arena, but failed to wow on the court, shooting just 1-6 in his team’s (3’s Company) season opening win over the Brian Scalabrine led Ball Hogs. Andre Owen’s contributed 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in the win, while the Ball Hogs captains Scal and Josh Childress also failed to show up combining for just six points. Rasul Butler (22) and Derrick Byers (19) tried their hardest for Ball Hogs, but couldn’t get a W in game three.
LASTLY the fourth and final game of the day was also the biggest blowout with a 60-45 win for Trilogy over Killer 3’s. Al Harrington was one of the standouts from the night scoring 25 points in the cruisy W, while Stephen Jackson’s 17 points came with 1-11 shooting from deep and teammates Larry Hughes took just three shots in an underwhelming performance.
THERE were a lot of questions surrounding the start of the BIG3 competition and how things would work. Overall it seems like the league was accepted, with fans decked out in throwback jerseys coming to show their support of players from the past 10-20 years. The style of play was definitely physical with banging in the post a theme, with a stronger emphasis on big men as opposed to today’s NBA. That being said it will take these guys some time to adjust and acclimatise themselves with the league’s game play/style. When teams start to hit three’s and space the floor out with regularity the excitement around the games will only grow even if they do seem like such long games. Don’t be surprised if the scoring total to reach in the games is lowered to shorten games and preserve the legs of the older folk. Either way it’s clear that with a few tweaks here and there the BIG3 league could very well evolve into an annual stellar event, that current pros can look forward too upon hanging up their pro sneakers.
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