The BIG3: A Reminder of why we love basketball as much as we do
Over the Weekend, the BIG3 kicked off their second season live from the Toyota Center, and there was no way I was going to pass on the opportunity to see this league in my own backyard.
For those unfamiliar, the BIG3’s rules are drastically different to those in the NBA. For starters, the teams play half court with a 14 second shot clock. A game reaches half time when a team reaches 25 points, with 50 being a game barring a two point lead. Perhaps the most intriguing rule in the game is the Four Point shots. Without a doubt, those were some of the most exciting moments of the night.
As 3’s Company took to podium after their win against the Killer 3’s , the infectious attitude of both Baron Davis and Drew Gooden overtook the room. It was immediately clear how much fun the pair is having. Davis and Gooden, along with their coach Michael Cooper, joked about the attendance, as compared to their times with struggling franchises in the NBA. Davis answered a media member’s question about who he thought had the better album: Nipsey Hustle or Jay Rock. Gooden even weighed in, awkwardly at that, on if he’d rather watch Basketball Wives or Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Baron Davis was a focal point through out the night. Fans crowded around him to take pictures with him after he came to the floor to watch the rest of the games. At no point did security step in to get the crowd away from him. Davis remained there and took a picture with every single person who approached him. This is definitely nothing like the NBA.
Power made their way to the podium after their 51-31 win over Ball Hogs. Big Baby Glen Davis came into the press conference exclaiming “Man, I’m hungry.”From there, he and Cuttino Mobley, along with their coach Nancy Lieberman, explained their love for basketball and how happy they were to be participating in this league.
“When you love something, you’ll work. You, know? It’s natural, just like breathing and you can’t take it for granted. Like coach was saying, there’s a lot of things that are going on in the world where this is our therapy,” explained Mobley.
Davis remained all smiles during the press conference. That was until Coach Lieberman took the time to share with the media what had been going on with Big Baby last week.
“He had to attend a funeral the other day in Louisiana. We were talking, I said you don't need to come back, we are family first. He said: “No I need basketball. This is what I need.” At the core of who we all are, we play this game because we love it, because it makes us feel good, because of our friendships, and here we are all these years later making new friendships and renewing new friendships with this beautiful game called basketball. We actually need each other. We need the game more than it needs us,” shared Coach Lieberman.
To these guys, this is more than a check. This is more than holding on to something that has past them by. Basketball is so engraved in their lives that they breath it and give it their everything.
That was not more evident on the court than when Kryptonate, Nate Robinson, absolutely balled out against Trilogy. His team, Tri State, upset the reigning champions in a 51-34 victory. Nate hit the game winner, and grabbed Rashad McCants’ Joker mask almost causing a brawl between the two teams. Clearly, these guys still have their competitive pride, and it made for a hell of a watch.
This experience reminded me just how much basketball means to us the fans. Growing up, it was so easy to spend hours outside enjoying basketball. There was nothing like a pickup basketball game. The way the crowd would erupt when guys cross each other over, or when someone pulled a ridiculous move off in a game of HORSE.
There is a weird connection and sense of nostalgia that I felt attached to basketball and to this event. Maybe it is because how intertwined it is with Hip Hop Culture, or because I grew up surrounded by family members in their Rockets’ NBA Champions t- shirts. Perhaps the nostalgia is heightened by the fact most of these guys were in one of my favorite sports video games, NBA LIVE 2005. Regardless, that night allowed me the chance to remember why I fell in love with this sport in the fist place.
As far as the players are concerned, I am sure this season’s inaugural weekend was exactly everything they needed to continue to scratch that itch. To continue to live their life within the sport of basketball. Nothing will ever replace the feeling of doing the thing you love the most.
“Just to be able to go out there and smell the popcorn again is a great experience. I’m just glad to be here and I look forward to all the games to come,” joked Davis.
Coach Lieberman’s words still resonate with me. Being a part of the media, it is easy to forget why I am here in the first place. At times, I have to put my feelings aside. In the NBA, I have to objectively watch the Warriors win year in and year out and be OK with it. This weekend was a great reminder, though, of why I do what I do. Why we love sports as much as we do. Because when all else fails, sports, or basketball in this case, is what keeps us going. At times, sports is what keeps us together.
“We need the game more than it needs us."