With names such as Jason Williams, Jermaine O’Neal, and Kenyon Martin, Ice Cube debuted his new and somewhat innovative “Big3” three on three league this past Sunday. With plenty of questions regarding the new league, the win for the moment was in the fact that the league is on the lips on many basketball enthusiasts.
Founded by rapper/actor Ice Cube and entertainment industry exec. Jeff Kwatinetz, the line of thinking behind the new Big3 league is to showcase the last glimpses of NBA stars of the recent years who for one reason or another had to retire from the league.
Walking away from Sunday’s game, there were a few high points to take away from the on court presentation. For starters the attendance numbers were very similar to that of Brooklyn Nets games. The players seemed to have a good competitive energy going as well, with two games being concluded with buzzer beating baskets.
The games were played in a half court setting, with a 14 second shot clock, unlimited fouls, half time when a team scores 30 points and the end of the game when a team scores 60 points.
As possibly the most iconic face of the intersection between hip-hop and basketball, it seemed like a forgone conclusion NBA Hall of Fame guard Allen Iverson would align himself with Big3 and Ice Cube as the unofficial face of the league. Serving also as his team’s coach, Iverson was definitely the main attraction going in to Sunday’s games.
Signaling the beginning of the concerns for Big3, Iverson attempted to downplay his sub par performance, attempting to embrace the coaching side of his player-coach label
“I signed up to be coach, player, [and] captain,” “The coach part is going to go on throughout the game. The playing part is not going to be what you expect. I’m 42 years old, been retired, what, six, seven years? The only reason I get out there for the couple minutes I do get out there is for the fans, you know what I mean? Iverson told the Washington Post.
Aside from Iverson who took a large portion of the fans with him at his departure, there were many games in general, with teams going long stretches unable to score, and a few players having to remove themselves from play due to injury.
Just announcing the game point being reduced from 60 to 50, Big3 believes it’s ability to adjust on the fly is what sets it apart. With the games being televised via tape delay due to the extensive play time networks couldn’t afford to broadcast live, quick adjustments such as this are definitely a selling point that is going to appease many, but the league ultimately can’t control the health or the remaining athletic ability of it’s players who are the true selling point of this league. Finding the balance between quantity and quality given that the players can remain a viable denominator will be the ultimate deciding factor as to whether Big3 survives past this season.
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