Ice Cube is back with a new project called “Everythangs Corrupt” and Cube coming back with flames.
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“Obviously I’m going to draft a 4-point shooter,” Iverson said. “I’ve got to have my sniper.”
But he acknowledged that adjusting for the three-on-three game would be difficult.
“Putting my squad together, I’m going to have to use my basketball brain and figure that out,” he said. “You’ve got to have someone to handle the rock. You’ve got to have someone to protect the rim. You’ve got to have a scorer.”
Defense will be particularly difficult in the three-on-three format, Lewis said, but he added, “We’re former N.B.A. players; we’ll figure it out.”
Asked to name their dream teammates, Iverson selected Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, Lewis chose Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan, and Martin picked Jason Kidd and Kevin Garnett. Asked to choose an all hip-hop lineup, Ice Cube listed Snoop Dogg, Kevin Hart and the Game.
Iverson, Lewis and Martin, the three players at the news conference, are 41, 37 and 39. (The Big3 has a minimum age of 30.) And Iverson is seven years removed from the N.B.A.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll be in decent enough shape to play half-court, plus we get a week to recover,” Lewis said.
The three-on-three setup is a growing format. The International Basketball Federation, known as FIBA, now sponsors a three-on-three world championship (won so far by Serbia and Qatar), and there has been a movement to add the sport to the Olympics alongside the traditional five-on-five game.
“This format allows the players to excel,” Kwatinetz said. “Players get smarter over time, and they improve their technical skills. But it’s hard to run up and down the court for 82 games. This format maximizes the value of the skills they have.”
Leagues of retired players have a checkered record in American sports. A baseball old-timers’ league that was founded in Florida in 1989 and that featured stars like Vida Blue, Bobby Bonds, Dock Ellis, Fergie Jenkins, Dave Kingman and Graig Nettles lasted a season and a half. A basketball game called the Legends Classic, played in conjunction with the N.B.A. All-Star Game, was scrapped in the 1990s because of frequent player injuries.
It is certainly an open question whether the Big3 can survive in the crowded American sports market, much less be “among the most exciting sports events in the world,” as a news release promised.
Roger Mason Jr., the league’s commissioner and a former N.B.A. player and players’ union official, said: “We want to look at what those leagues did wrong. I’m very confident on the business side.”
Kwatinetz said: “This is not a stunt; this is about great basketball.”
Iverson, who wore a Chicago Blackhawks cap, added his own vote of confidence. “When I got the call, it was a no-brainer,” he said. “Ice Cube, you don’t turn that down. That’s success looking you in the eyes.”
He added: “This is not going to be the only time we do it. This is going to go on and on and on and on.”