In case you hadn’t heard, Santa got my letters about a real life version of the NBA Street video games and Ice Cube’s BIG3 League will begin June 25th. The pro three on three league operates under different rules than the typical five on five games in college and the NBA.
The structure and rules of the league are setting this up to be an incredibly entertaining experiment for basketball fans. Plus it’s a chance to some of our favorite college and pro stars of yesterday in action once again. Some of the big names involved include Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Charles Oakley, and Clyde Drexler.
To make things even better, former Beaver and NBA legend Gary Payton will coach one of the league’s eight teams. Payton’s squad will be known as the 3 Headed Monsters. Together with previously signed on team captains Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams, Payton rounded out his five man team on Sunday with three more former NBA players at the league’s inaugural draft in Las Vegas. Here’s what The Glove is working with in terms of a roster:
Rashard Lewis - Captain
Lewis came out of high school in 1998 and was a second round pick by the Seattle Supersonics that year. He played 17 years in the league, made the All-Star game twice, and reached the NBA Finals three times. That career included stops with Seattle, Orlando, Washington, and Miami. Part of his time in Miami included winning the NBA championship alongside Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and another former Sonic in Ray Allen.
Lewis was a pretty great scorer for the duration of his career. He finished his NBA days with a .452 field goal percentage and 15,579 points. He was a decent defender too, which became especially apparent in his later seasons with those Miami finals runs. Even at 38, he’s absolutely the primary threat for this team. Remember that time he dropped 50 on the Clips?
Jason Williams - Co-Captain
“White Chocolate” might be one of the most entertaining basketball players ever. The handles, the elbow passes...his game is perfect for this league that’s been adamant about how great of a live show they want to put on.
If you need a refresher, Williams played his college years at Marshall and Florida under Billy Donovan in the mid nineties. The Sacramento Kings drafted him seventh overall in 1998 and he made the NBA All-Rookie First Team that year. His career also included stops in Memphis, Miami, and Orlando. He was the starting point guard for the Heat in 2006 when they won their first title.
Brown was the number one overall pick coming out of high school in the 2001 NBA draft. He bounced around the league with seven different teams over his twelve year career, but his most productive years were with Washington and the Lakers in the early 2000’s. He showed some great flashes of his skills in that time period, but overall his pro career is considered something of a disappointment considering his high draft position.
All things considered though, he has a chance to make an impact in this league since he’s one of the only true centers on a roster. Plus he seems like he has a fire under him getting back into shape and after being passed over by Charles Oakley in the league draft over the weekend.
Basden had a great college career with UNC Charlotte from 2001 to 2005. In that time, he was Conference USA defensive player of the year twice and overall player of the year once. ESPN even picked him as the national defensive player of the year his senior season. He went undrafted, but earned a contract with the Bulls and appeared in 19 games for them in 2005.
After that, he played for a number of clubs all over the world and in the D-League. Here’s some of his highlights from one of his most recent teams Franca in Brazil.
This might be the pickup that I’m most excited about. Abdul-Rauf (who is 48 years old) was a two time SEC player of the year with LSU in 1989 and 1990 before being drafted third overall by the Denver Nuggets in 1990. Included in his list of achievements is an NBA Most Improved Player award in 1993. He played for Denver and Sacramento (plus a stint in Vancouver in 2000) in his NBA tenure before making the jump to overseas in 2001. He bounced around in Europe and Asia until 2011.
Just how good Abdul-Rauf was during the 1990’s gets lost in the conversation for a few different reasons, but that’s a story SB Nation has already covered extensively and I encourage you to read all about it
At any rate, there’s a lot of comparisons out there of Abdul-Rauf’s game in his prime to the way Steph Curry plays now and I can definitely see why. Check out the video of below from one his career defining games where he put up 32 on Michael Jordan and the 1995-1996 Bulls and you’ll understand the comparisons too. Does he still have it? I’m hoping I have the chance to find out in person when the touring league makes a stop in Seattle in August.