The NBA has long dominated sports conversations year-round, wither it’s the NBA season starting in October, the NBA playoffs staring in May, and NBA Free-Agency starting in July. This gives the NBA real story lines and drama that entices fans to tune in and talk about their sport. With the NBA’s off-season the same as the NFL they dominate the topic of discussion as NBA stars have more star power and mystique. Last night I went to opening night of the 2nd official season of the Big 3 Basketball League, the game was a star-studded family affair that seems like a great retirement tour for NBA players for years to come.
From watching Charles Oakley, Julius Irving, and many other legends coaching some of their peers and players they helped pave a way for in the NBA. From all the players and their families pretty much staying at the Hilton Americas down the street from the Toyota Center, you could see the fun and comradery of this event. From seeing all the ex-NBA players court-side watching the games and saying hello to all their friends and peers amongst the crowd. The event while taking a less serious tone in nature than most NBA games, however it produced one of the most entertaining games of basketball I’ve watched in the last few years.
Nate Robinson (a 3-Time NBA Slam Dunk Champion) a crowd and fan favorite was in his bag most of the final game of the night as Tri-State took on the undefeated Big 3 League champions Trilogy. The arena roared as Robinson made his every move and play, obviously the star of the Big 3 league in the fans eyes he surely gave us something to remember with his performance down the stretch to close out that game after they cut the lead down to 5. Robinson was jawing back and forth with multiple Trilogy players all night as they didn’t seem to take fondly to the dynamic undersized guard giving them work all night long. Which lead to further intrigue as these players may not be playing for an NBA title anymore, but they are all out there playing for pride and bragging rights.
Trilogy coming into this game having never lost in the Big 3 era of basketball, finally had that put to and end on an opening night with a record big 3 attendance north of 16,000 people. With this only being the second Big 3 season and many players liked Drew Gooden even joked that there were more fans in the arena today then in some NBA games he’s played in, the game is growing fast and has potential to be an amazing off-season event where you can watch your favorite retired NBA players go out there and perform for you with the last bit of basketball they have left in their bodies. The Big 3 is truly an event, that puts a unique spin on the game of basketball and has adapted some of its own rules that truly make the game entertaining and fast paced.
With the Big 3 on the rise it can truly change the way we watch and talk about basketball for 3 months out of the year. The league will continue to grow and is a few ex superstar players away from being one of the most entertaining sporting events of all time. If they could convince the likes of one Kobe Bryant, or a player with the name and skill of a Vince Carter, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Tracy Mcgrady, Steve Nash, and many other possible greats whose careers are over but could still put on a show for fans in the Big 3. However, most of those names will forever be a pipe dream but if I’m Ice Cube I’m on the phone offering 5-10% of the business to Kobe to join and play in the Big 3 for 5 years. That would take this game and event to a whole different level, and NBA fans would be salivating at the opportunity to watch all-time greats compete in a freer flowing game style.
This event could really become a better version of Golf’s PGA Tour Champions league for older greats. Where NBA players get to continue to have a stage to use their skills to make a little extra money and get to continue to play and be a part of the game that they love. The event and league in my opinion is only a few ex super-star caliber players away from having the hottest most exciting event to go during the summer and maybe even the entire year. Seeing the way, the crowd showed out and supported ex-NBA players that aren’t household names was really something to witness. For the players as their interest and the interest of some of their high-profile peers increases so will the fan interest in what already is but will be a must-see event.