The Ice Cube-created BIG3 league recently started up, featuring former NBA players competing in 3-on-3 half-court games (televised on FS1 on a one-day delay). The league features many former NBA stars, such as Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby, Rashard Lewis, Jermaine O’Neal, and Kenyon Martin.
And a lot of these guys are very confident that they’ve still got it. Perhaps a bit too confident.
Stephen Jackson — averaged 15.1 points over 14 years in the NBA — told the media that he honestly believes the top-10 players from the BIG3 could beat an NBA team:
“I honestly feel if you got the top-10 guys here, we could beat an actual NBA team. So, not just the Summer League, we’ll beat an actual NBA team.”
Jackson continued that he’s “dead-ass serious.”
Kenyon Martin agreed with Jackson, while Gary Payton — coaching in the BIG3 — said that the top BIG3 players could beat a *Summer League* team, if they got a month “to get in great, great shape.”
“If they get a month off, yeah anybody in Summer League, because some of the dudes in Summer League are trying to make a team that are not going to be on a team. They’re not as talented as these guys were in their prime, and some of them still in their prime.”
Clyde Drexler — also a BIG3 coach — then said that the BIG3 stars vs the Summer League players is “not even a fair fight,” and added that he thinks they’d have a “great shots against the guys in the [NBA].”
If these guys, who are seasoned veterans, who had great NBA careers, who are still in incredible shape… the guys in the Summer League are just coming from college. They really don’t know how to play yet. That’s not even a fair fight.
Let’s talk about the real players, the NBA players. I think they’d have a great shot against the guys in the league.”
The confidence is admirable and these guys all had tremendous NBA careers (with that confidence being a huge reason why). But, let’s be real- the best players in the BIG3 would get pummeled in a game against an NBA team. Yes, even against the Brooklyn Nets. The reality is just that there’s no way their older bodies could handle the athleticism and talents of current NBA players, especially over a 48-minute game.
Against a Summer League team? It seems more possible for the reasons Payton and Drexler said, but still probably a longshot just due to the massive difference in athletic abilities between players just out of college and guys in their late 30s-40s. It would certainly be fun to watch though! Let’s set that up.