With all the buzz surrounding the NBA interest surrounding Will Bynum, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Joe Johnson during this BIG3 season, it’s easy to misconstrue the purpose of the league. While the BIG3 may serve as an opportunity to get good film and foster a possible return to the league, not all BIG3 players are focused on reigniting their NBA careers.
For many players, the BIG3, founded by hip hop mogul Ice Cube and former entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz, provides a happy medium. Several players are fathers to children that never had the opportunity to watch their fathers play during their professional careers. For those that continued their basketball careers overseas, it is a relief to compete at a high level stateside. With just one game each weekend during the summer, the BIG3 allows for more time at home with the family. Furthermore, the family-friendly atmosphere of the league is a refreshing aspect that attracts many players.
Tri-State’s Nate Robinson states that while playing in the BIG3, he is able to pursue more opportunities. Playing 82 regular season games during the NBA season is no doubt time consuming. Rodney Carney of the 3 Headed Monsters talked about the benefits of playing in the professional 3-on-3 league as it compares to playing overseas.
“Me personally, in the short little time I’m here (in the BIG3), hopefully I’ll come back next year, I would rather do that than spend 9 months over in Japan somewhere away from my daughter and away from my son. So, it’s very good for them to have this league here. It gives us a viable option. That grueling overseas is kind of tough especially when you’re my age, I’m 35. You know I’m getting ready to shut it down, but having this option is great.”
18-year NBA vet Rashard Lewis also weighed in. “I think it’s an amazing league because not only the fact that you get to play during the summer time, compete with guys you played with in the NBA, and like Larry (Sanders) said, your kids get to see you play. My kids were very young when I was playing (in the NBA) but now they get a chance to watch me play. But during the year, you get to be at home during the holidays. I played for 18 years and I missed Christmas, Thanksgiving through the years and a lot of stuff with my family. I’m able to spend time with them now, with my kids and my family, during those holidays and play basketball during the summer.”
Not only does this unique league provide high quality basketball during the summer when the NBA is on hiatus, it also promotes the overall well-being of each and every athlete. It is not uncommon to see children running out of the tunnel with their dads during player intros. 2019 Coach of the Year and Champion Lisa Leslie is accompanied by her family on every tour stop with her son, MJ2 keepin fans informed and entertained as the BIG3 Kid Reporter.
While best wishes are extended to those looking to get back into the NBA; for most, the BIG3 is more than enough.