BIG 3

While we anxiously wait for the NBA to finalize who will be playing where, and what the makeup of the teams will look like for the upcoming season … never fear summer basketball is here. 

Not one, not two, but Ice Cube’s Big3 Basketball league is bouncing its way from city to city to help you get your basketball fix on.  To date, it has stopped in Detroit, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Birmingham, Atlanta, Providence, Brooklyn, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Milwaukee.   

First, the actor-rapper-entrepreneur made an appearance in Miami at the National Association of Black Journalist convention to speak on diversity.  Then on Saturday, Aug. 10, Cube’s Big3 rolled through the Magic City. He brought his entertaining three-on-three basketball league to AmericanAirlines Arena along with some of our hometown favorites.  

Former Miami Heat World Champions Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis, from our very own big three era, teamed up again to play on a team called the 3 Headed Monsters.  Gary Payton, a throwback from the Heat’s first championship in 2006, is their head coach.  Other notable former Heat players, Carlos Arroyo and Mike Bibby, have also made their way to Cube’s league.  

The Big3 embodies some familiar NBA faces and legends of the game.  The Ice Man cometh, coach George Gervin was in the house.  The doctor was also in the Heat’s house, Dr. J., aka Julius Irving.  And WNBA player turned Big3 coach, Lisa Leslie graced the AAA with her presence.   

The half-court games are reminiscent of the pick-up basketball games played on the courts in the neighborhoods, except these games are filled with former champions and all-stars.    

The number 3 is a recurring theme; from some of the team names (3 Headed Monsters, Tri-State, 3’s Company, Trilogy, and Triplets, Killer 3’s) to the 3-on-3 half-court game to the number of games played for the evening – 3.   

The Big3 is a chance for players to continue playing the game that they love and show the basketball world that they still got “it” and know what to do with “it.”   

They are using this opportunity as a gateway into the NBA or as an alternative to going overseas to play.    

There are no delusions as to why the players are here, but for Pensacola native Reggie Evans, he wanted to live in the moment of the Big3.      

He went on a rampage with reporters who kept asking questions about a Heat reunion and NBA in general.  

When asked what it felt like to be back in the AAA, Mario Chalmers said, “it’s just like playing at home for me.” 

Questions about the former Heat players coming home weren’t and should not have been unexpected.  

But after the first round of Heat questions, Evans had heard enough.  

“Hey. Hold on, hold on,” Evans said emphatically as the three teammates (he, Chalmers and Lewis) held center court in the post-game interview room.  “Let’s stick to the Big3.”  “We ain’t on no NBA ?@*. They don’t support us at all.  They don’t talk about us at all.  That Heat ?@* is in the  past.  We’re talking about the Big3. That’s what’s popping right now.  The Big3, that’s what going on.”  

When you know the stove is hot and you still touch it, you deserve to get burned, right?   

Another reporter tried to come around the backdoor with another NBA question, this time about Vince Carter still playing in the NBA at the age of 42.     

The 39- year-old Evans cranked it up again and was intent on putting a halt to any and every NBA-related question.  

“I just told you no more NBA questions,” Evans stopped the reporter mid-question.  “Don’t ask no more NBA questions.” 

Quantifying his demand, Evans asked, “Are you going to ask Vince Carter how you feel about Rashard coming into the Big3?  You going to go to Atlanta and ask them that? Are you going to go to Miami and be like “Hey, you all want to get in the Big 3 when you all’s career over with, or when things are not looking good, and Pat Riley going to get rid of your @**? You going to come to the Big3?” 

“Seriously, what’s the chances of you all asking a Big3 question during the NBA season?”  “Keep it real,” said a visibly annoyed Evans.

Well, realistically, as the Big3 continues making the rounds and stars return home to their former teams, the NBA questions are going to continue.   

The Big3 is what it is.  It’s fun and it’s entertaining.  

Good basketball, interesting game breaks, halftime acts and hot music is what Cube is serving up.  

He brought in another local favorite, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell to pump up the crowd.      

Ice Cube has the following, the connections, the sponsors and the national visibility with major networks airing his product.  

Not bad for a rapper “Straight Outta Compton.”

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