Big3 co-founder Ice Cube knew it was going to take a year or two to get bigger names to play on his summer circuit.
“In a lot of ways, (last season) was definitely a ‘show me’ year,” Ice Cube told NBC Sports. “Some (players) actually told us they would wait to see how we did this year before they would want to be a part of it. We knew trying to introduce something this new would have people kind of taking a wait-and-see approach.”
Cube seems to be prescient — players are coming.
Metta World Peace will play next season — under his old name Ron Artest — the league announced Monday, as the co-captain of Stephen Jackson’s Killer 3’s. This NBA season World Peace is working as a player development coach for the Lakers’ G-League team.
Also, Allen Iverson will return for his second season as a Big3 coach and possibly spot player.
A lot of people checked out the Big3 in person and on Fox Sports 1 last season, but as much out of curiosity as anything. Like the NBA, the Big3 needs star power to sell, and the ownership of the league understands that. They are on the recruiting trail, and former players of the league expect it to work.
“People were trying to see if this was a joke or how serious it is, but now the retired players are seeing this game and they’re excited about what is taking place,” 11-year NBA veteran Mike James said last season. “So from this year to next year, you’re going to see more familiar names playing in this league, you’ll see more ex-superstars that played the game. And then you’ve got guys on their last leg in the NBA, they got something to look forward to.”
That’s what Ice Cube and the backers of the Big3 are counting on.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Metta World Peace has joined the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA G League affiliate as a player development coach.
The veteran NBA forward was added to the South Bay Lakers’ staff Monday.
World Peace played 16 NBA seasons for six franchises, including six years with the Lakers from 2009-10 and 2015-17. He was a standout defensive player who won a championship alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2010.
While he hasn’t publicly retired, the forward formerly known as Ron Artest will assist South Bay Lakers head coach Coby Karl and his staff.
World Peace earned the longest suspension in NBA history for his role in the Indiana Pacers’ infamous brawl in the stands at Detroit in November 2004, but he matured into a valued veteran leader for the Lakers.
The players union released its long-anticipated long-overdue awards, and there are some doozies. First of all, I still can’t figure out what Chris Bosh – who was announced as the “host” of the Twitter-released awards – has to do with this. But let’s get to the actual winners.
Here are the major awards, with the traditional award/Players Voice equivalent:
No surprise Westbrook won both MVPs. He deserved them. Still, James Harden could’ve hoped for a split result like in 2015, when Stephen Curry won actual MVP and Harden won the players’ version.
There’s obviously slight differences in the other categories. I think Green had the best defensive season and deservedly won Defensive Player of the Year, but I also think Leonard is the NBA’s best defender and therefore deserved this honor. I would’ve picked Andre Iguodala for Best off the Bench (and Sixth Man of the Year, for what it’s worth), though that’s a minor quibble. But how on earth did Joel Embiid not win Best Rookie? He was the best rookie in years, let alone this season. I picked Brogdon for Rookie of the Year based on his overall contributions in far more playing time, but there should have been no question about the best rookie.
The union also released several awards without a corresponding NBA honor:
- Comeback Player of the Year: Joel Embiid
- Hardest to Guard: Russell Westbrook
- Clutch Performer: Isaiah Thomas
- Global Impact: LeBron James
- Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team: LeBron James
- Most Influential Veteran: Vince Carter
- Best Dressed: Russell Westbrook
- Best Social Media Follow: Joel Embiid
- Coach You’d Most Like to Play For: Gregg Popovich
- Best Home Court Advantage: Warriors
LeBron winning Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team has to be an implicit slap in the face to Kyrie Irving. I’m glad to see Thomas and Carter deservedly recognized.
Lastly, the union awarded a Teammate of the Year on each team:
Dirk Nowitzki won the NBA’s Teammate of the Year – which is voted on by current players after a panel of former players selects nominees – then didn’t even win for his own team here? That’s just weird.
It is verifiably untrue that the Los Angeles Clippers or Utah Jazz will win the NBA title this season.
Frankly, either of those were longshots when the playoffs started, but the Jazz knocked off the Clippers in the first round, then the Warriors swept the Jazz out in the second round.
This Tweet, however, is why we love Metta World Peace:
Maybe there is a job for World Peace in the Trump administration yet. He may be looking for a job as he wants to keep playing but his contract with the Lakers is up and he’s not likely to get picked up anywhere other than as an assistant coach.
As the Lakers tanked their way toward the end of the season (except for the final five games), there was nothing that made the Staples Center crowd roar like buckets from Metta World Peace. A guy on the Lakers’ roster as much as a mentor as player — he was the professional showing up early to practice, getting in his work, calling young players out when needed — World Peace was getting more run late in the season, and the fans loved it.
In likely his final home game as a Laker (and probably his second to last in the NBA), World Peace gave the fans what they wanted — 18 second half points. He did it mostly with post-up fadeaways, but he also drained pull up three pointers and seemingly everything else he threw up. It was a fun throwback half.
The Lakers beat the Pelicans 108-96, giving Los Angeles five straight wins to end the season (and costing them one spot in the lottery odds race).