Big3 begins: Close games open Ice Cube's new 3-on-3 league

Doug Mendoza
June 26, 2017

Entertainers such as LL Cool J and NBA All-Star James Harden were in the crowd for the first two games before Iverson, the main attraction among players, took the court following a concert.

Actually, the rapper/actor announced his Big 3 league long before the Olympics added the sport to the 2020 games (in January), but his timing for the official launch is ideal.

"This is going to be something special", said Clyde Drexler, coach of a team called Power. AI made it clear after the game that fans shouldn't expect him to play very much this season, as the league is not hoping to become a side show, but rather create good basketball competition. The almost seven hours I spent at Barclays ended up being well worth it, however, even if only to see Allen Iverson hit one shot in his return to the hardwood. Corey Maggette was lost in the second game to a right knee injury, and after his team, Power, won on Stevenson's three-pointer, Maggette hopped around the court on one leg to celebrate with his teammates before being helped off. Both were expected to be OK. With a talent pool mostly made up of players in their late-30s, this shouldn't be entirely surprising. Recently retired Paul Pierce was in the crowd and Andre Owens, the star of Iverson's 3's Company, said Kevin Garnett might want to play. All that can be said for sure is that Iverson remains as magnetic as ever, even for the players in his orbit. We think guys is going to get back in the League with the BIG3. However, that team has to win by at least two points, or the game continues.

With all the musical talent Ice Cube possesses, it was just a matter of time until he laid down a track to hype the BIG3 basketball league's opening weekend. There was pushing and shoving in the post and a few hard fouls, and the trash talk appeared to heat up as the game went on. With hand checking allowed, the games looked nothing like today's National Basketball Association game. It's essentially a way for the rapper - and fans - to watch former National Basketball Association players handle the rock again. The International Olympic Committee just announced that 3-on-3 basketball will debut as an Olympic sport at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

Rashard Lewis' game-winning free throw gave his 3 Headed Monsters squad a 62-60 over Mike Bibby's Ghost Ballers, DeShawn Stevenson drilled a game-winning three for Power, and Kenyon Martin's Trilogy picked up a 60-45 win over Killer 3's.

The Wake Forest product tallied 18.1 points, 9.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in 2016-17 behind a career-best 41.1 percent shooting clip from three-point range. Deshawn Stevens scored buckets easily, racking up 20 points while connecting on 50 percent of his 3-point shots. Fans complained about this on social media Sunday, but given the length of the games - action began shortly after 1 p.m., and the last game finished more than six hours later - a live broadcast wasn't feasible.

According to the AP, more than 15,000 fans were in attendance as Iverson's 3's Company handled the Ball Hogs 61-51. Brian Scalabrine, Josh Childress, Derrick Byars, Rasual Butler and Dominic McGuire round out the roster.

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Fans came to watch Allen Iverson play in the "Big3" Sunday in Brooklyn, but he spent most of his time on the sideline coaching. The BIG3 season tips off this Sunday at Barclays Center.

Ghost Ballers player/captain Mike Bibby, (10), left, knocks the ball from 3 Header Monsters Eddie Basden (13) during the first half of Game 1 in the BIG3 Basketball League debut, Sunday, June 25, 2017, at the Barclays Center in NY.

The June 25th portion of the official schedule featured the Ghost Ballers taking on 3 Headed Monsters in the first game.

3 Headed Monsters Jason Williams (55) drives up against Ghost Ballers Ivan Johnson (44) during the first half of Game 1 in the BIG3 Basketball League debut, Sunday, June 25, 2017, at the Barclays Center in NY.

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