Oklahoma City Thunder guard and NBA MVP Russell Westbrook was on hand as the BIG3 took over the BOK Center this past Sunday. Westbrook walked into chants of “MVP! MVP!” and received a standing ovation from not only the fans but some of the players as well.
“He deserved it, game-high,” said Killer 3’s team captain Stephen Jackson. “If they didn’t stand up, I would be like that’s disrespectful.”
“I was one of the people standing up giving him a round of applause too,” said former NBA Champion Chauncey Billups. “Couldn’t happen to a better person. Still finds to give back to the kids, just well deserved” Billups said.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf scored six of the 3 Headed Monsters first ten points en route to a 50-32 victory over the Power in the opening game. He finished with a game-high 22 points, twelve of which came from 3-point range.
“I’m feeling great” Abdul-Rauf said, “Our biggest thing was to come out and not take a play off like we did a lot of last week. We believe in ourselves and believe we can win it all so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Reggie Evans dominated the glass as his Killer 3s defeated Tri-State 51-44 in the second game. Evans finished with a game-high 18 rebounds and chipped in ten points to secure a double-double.
“A lot of guys have a lot of skill, but sometimes guys with a lot of passion and energy tend to win games for you and that’s what he does,” Jackson said.
“We feed off of his energy and effort”, Billups said. “He made the play of the game with not only the steal but with the assist as well.”
Ricky Davis’s 23 points, nine rebound game paced the Ghost Ballers to a 50-45 win over the Ball Hogs. Ivan Johnson chipped in 16 points and nine rebounds as well. The second half was a battle with the Ball Hogs outscoring the Ghost Ballers 27-25 in the second half, but the Ghost Ballers sealed the deal even if it wasn’t how it was drawn up.
“Coach drew up a split during the timeout”, Ghost Ballers guard Marcus Banks said. “You got Ricky taking it out, you got Mo (Evans) on the elbow, and me in the corner. So normally whoever gets the ball in you split with the guy and the two guys who don’t have the ball. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen all the time and you have to improvise and go out and play basketball.”
The final game of the evening took place between the Allen Iverson led 3’s Company and the Trilogy, who led by Al Harrington and Rashad McCants combined 27 points pulled out a 50-42 victory.
“We’re happy we got a win”, Harrington said.
Iverson, who scored two points on 1-3 shooting, liked the effort his team brought.
“There’s not a whole bunch you can do with Al Harrington on the post”, Iverson said. “We did the best we could. Adjusted the best we could, played the best we could. We felt good about our effort tonight we just felt that we were undermanned.”
He also touched on what made him decide to join the BIG3.
“This is for my fans, the people that supported me”, Iverson said. “I thought it would be a gift to them, for them to have those flashbacks and memories of when they were supporting me like they used to. They still have that support for me and that’s a great feeling and a great honor.”
Soon to be NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady sat courtside with BIG3 founder and entertainment icon Ice Cube and Westbrook for the second and third games. Cube performed his hit “It was a good day” during halftime of the 3’s Company Trilogy game to a standing ovation from the crowd.
The BIG3 was as good as advertised and some players believe that this is just the beginning.
“To me, it’s a dream job”, 3 Headed Monster team captain Rashard Lewis said. “I think a lot of guys, after seeing this year, will join the league.”
“A lot of guys sat this season out just to see how credible the league would be”, Billups said. “Now that they see it I think you’ll see a lot of more notable name players join because it’s just so fun.”