Rapper/Filmmaker Ice Cube brought his Big 3 basketball tournament to Lexington, KY on Sunday August 6, 2017. The Big 3 is an eight team league that consists of retired NBA players. When we think of “retired” players, we often think, out-of-shape, slow and boring – but this league is anything but that.
Players like Kwame Brown, Rashard Lewis, Al Thornton, Kenyon Martin, Mike Bibby and Stephen Jackson are in excellent physical condition and appear very reminiscent of their NBA days.
Ice Cube created the ten week league to give basketball fans something unique to look forward to during the summer months, while the NBA and NCAA are on hiatus. Making this inaugural season more special is the fact that the games are played in different cities each week – often cities that don’t currently have a NBA franchise.
In each city, four back-to-back games are on the schedule. Two teams (of the eight) go head-to-head and the first team to score 50 points – wins the game.
The style of the Big 3 is an even bigger treat for hoop fans. The league operates on a 3-on-3 half court format that is very similar to the schoolyard “pick-up” games that many of these ballers grew up playing.
The smaller court creates a high intensity, fast-pace game that is just as physical as the NBA games of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. The competitive nature is fierce, resulting in players being bumped and pushed hard on nearly every play. Getting to the rim in no cake-walk. This is hard nose basketball.
The official fan attendance at Lexington’s Rupp Arena was 8,007. Rajon Rondo, Shelvin Mack, Rex Chapman and Sam Bowie were courtside to take in the action as well.
Of the four games, the battle of Trilogy vs Power was third on the schedule and proved to be the game that brought the crowd to their feet. Undefeated Trilogy, headed by team captain Kenyon Martin, aggressively fought back from a 25-14 halftime deficit to claim a 50-45 win. Tough picks, often sending players crashing to the floor, were set throughout this game.
Stephen Jackson put on a show in the second game on the schedule. His Killer 3’s went basket-for-basket against 3’s Company led by Andre Owens. These two teams were making it rain in Rupp Arena with their constant aerial assault. Six lead changes would ultimately end with 3’s Company walking away with the win, despite Stephen Jackson dropping 25 points.
Game one featured The Ballhogs vs 3 Headed Monsters. Extending their winning streak to five weeks – the 3 Headed Monsters, powered by Rashard Lewis, Mahmoud Abul-Rauf and Kwame Brown overpowered Brian Scalabrine and Josh Childress of the Ballhogs, to seal a 50-34 victory.
In the final game, Tri-State, led by Bonzi Wells took down the favored Ghost Ballers, 51-43.
The league now heads to Los Angeles for week 8, Seattle for week 9 and ending the season with a playoff series and a Championship game in Las Vegas on August 26, 2017.
For more info, log onto big3.com.