Ice Cube’s 3 on 3 basketball league creation started its inaugural season this past Monday and was a hit with great ratings. It gives fans a chance to see their favorite past NBA players play again on the hardwood. These greats include “The Answer” Allen Iverson, “White Chocolate” Jason Williams, “Sweet Lew” Rashard Lewis, and many others.
During the first week, there were four games featuring all 8 teams in the league, which gave fans a little taste of the competitive action they’ll be seeing for the next 10 weeks. This is great for basketball fans because outside of the NBA summer league, there isn’t anything else to watch in the summer for hardcore NBA fans.
Ice Cube’s new innovative product gives us a taste of the past while looking towards the future. Here are 5 big takeaways from the first week of the Big 3 League.
5. The Attendance
The first week kicked off at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY. It was completely sold out. Most NBA Teams were unable to even sell out games on a nightly basis last year. This includes the Brooklyn Nets. That means that this league is already receiving more attention than some NBA teams.
Take a bow, Mr. Cube. Nostalgia draws people and so does a fresh concept. In this league, the refs are more tolerable of trash talk and hard fouls. In this league, the range stretches further with the debut of the four-point line. Something that has always been a discussion point in the NBA but they could never get it done. A league where fans get the inside scoop on all the sounds of the game, heated timeouts, and on-court jibber jabber.
4. The Return Of The Player Coach
One of the most interesting aspects of this new league was the return of the player-coach to a basketball court. Something that has been out of professional basketball since the mid-1970’s. Two of the 8 teams in the Big3 League feature player coaches. 3’s Company has Allen Iverson who has three main responsibilities being the team’s coach, captain and lead guard. He has to know when to sub himself out for the better of the team or interject himself into the game. The other case is the Killer 3’s who have Charles Oakley.
Yes, at 53 years old, Oakley is still a baller.
With the return of player coaching to the sport, we can only wonder what Cube will come up with next?
3. Possible Future Superteam In The Works
When asked by Big 3 on court Interviewer, Michael Rappaport about if he will consider joining the league next year? Future Hall of famer Paul Pierce replied, “I might try to convince KG, and Kobe too.” Imagine a ball squad featuring the likes of Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett. Even getting to see those guys play again has to have your mouth salivating as a fan.
They would be the Golden State Warriors of this league. No doubt about it. Is that good for the league? I think it is because the main objective is to put carcasses into seats and make a profit. Hall of Fame caliber players recently off retirement will do that too. I might have to ask Cube to reach out to guys like Reggie Miller, Shaq, Ray Allen and Chris Webber about possible returns to the hardwood. Hey, a man can dream right.
2. The Injuries During Week 1
Two of the premiere stars of the league in Jason Williams (3 Headed Monsters) and Corey Maggette (Power) went down to injury in the first week of games. Both will miss the rest of the season after suffering leg and knee injuries. The timetable for Maggette is unknown but he did undergo surgery on his lower leg. Meanwhile, Jason Williams will be out for 6-9 Months.
These injuries resulted in the league to adjust the rules from first to 60 points wins the game to now first to 50 points wins. In doing this, they hope to be able to fit all four games in their 3-hour broadcast and to reduce injuries with less playing time. Time will tell if these adjustments do anything.
1. Close And Competitive Games
The action in the first week of the Big 3 League was for the most part down to the wire and tightly competitive. It kept fans on their toes and viewers at home on the edge of their seats. Three of the four games were decided by 10 points or less. Two of the games were decided on game-winning plays. Such as Rashard Lewis’s and- one that helped lead the 3 Headed Monsters past the Ghost Ballers. Such as Deshawn Stevenson’s game-winning three-pointer that led Power past Tri-State.
This type of action is what will ultimately decide the fate of this league. At the end of the day, things can look good on paper but all potential will be fulfilled on the hardwood. I’m happy to say that minus the injuries, the first week was a major success. Here’s to hoping the next 9 weeks are even better.