The BIG3 champion Trilogy will remain mostly intact and league MVP Rashard Lewis is set to return, but the BIG3’s public face will not return.
Following a mostly-well-received first season of play over the summer, Ice Cube’s BIG3 league has announced its players and coaches that will return for the 2018 season. Among the notable returnees are BIG3 MVP Rashard Lewis and Kenyon Martin and Al Harrington, who captained the undefeated champion Trilogy.
Notably absent, however, is Allen Iverson, who was one of the strongest voices in getting the BIG3 into the limelight prior to its first season. Iverson managed to create arguably the biggest headline of the summer for BIG3 — not for the phenomenal play on the court that most NBA fans remember him for, but for skipping a game without an excuse and becoming the first player to be suspended a game by the league.
Iverson also made headlines earlier in the season for sitting out the Philadelphia portion of the BIG3 tour due to “advice from [his] doctor,” which was met with heavy boos in the City of Brotherly Love.
The amount of non-Iverson returning players and coaches is encouraging, however. From the BIG3’s press release:
Among the roster of returning players and coaches are 2017 BIG3 MVP Rashard Lewis, 2017 BIG3 Champions Trilogy’s Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington and coach Rick Mahorn, Corey Maggette, Chauncey Billups, Clyde Drexler, Gary Payton, Brian Scalabrine, Stephen Jackson, DerMarr Johnson, Ricky Davis, Josh Childress, Cuttino Mobley, Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams, Bonzi Wells, George “The Iceman” Gervin, and Rick Barry.
All of the returning players and coaches were signed to two-year agreements, meaning the BIG3 presumably plans to stick around for a while.
So, all in all, not too bad! It’s notable that Billups will be returning for a second and third season after his first season almost didn’t happen when he reached the late stages of interviewing for the Cleveland Cavaliers general manager opening earlier in the summer.
The BIG3’s product was certainly not the prettiest at all times, but it did give some highlights, and mostly a lot of fun all around. The 3-on-3 half-court setup, quirky four-point shot and the roster of former NBA players gave the league a pickup-game-on-steroids kind of feel.
Perhaps even more interesting than the retained players will be which new players suit up for the BIG3 next year — Ice Cube’s already recruiting Kobe Bryant, and even former NFL star Terrell Owens has shown interest in playing.