Allen Iverson CHICAGO, IL – JULY 23: during week five of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at UIC Pavilion on July 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/BIG3/Getty Images)

Allen Iverson unexpectedly missed the BIG3’s stop in Dallas last weekend, and at first the league had no idea why. A TMZ report later revealed Iverson had stayed in Chicago, where the BIG3 had been the previous weekend, to gamble late into the night at a casino. Now, The Answer will be suspended for this week’s action in Lexington.

Iverson is the BIG3’s main attraction this summer, even though he’s played in only three games due to injuries and, now, gambling. Even so, the league didn’t have much of a choice in how to react as the situation clearly required disciplining.

Here’s what Ice Cube, who founded the BIG3, told For The Win about the decision to suspend AI:

“Well, we talked about holding up the legitimacy of the league and he knows that him not showing up hurts us,” Ice Cube said. “Who’s happy to be suspended? Nobody. But he understands that it’s a necessary step in the development of the BIG3 who don’t believe what we’re doing and what we’re going to do in the future. Our league is bigger than one man, and we’ve got Hall-of-Famers, champions, All-Stars, first-round picks, and we have to think about them. He understands that.”

The jury is still out on if the BIG3 can become a serious hoops league. While star-studded rosters have garnered attention and introducing a four-point shot has added an interesting twist, the on-court product leaves a lot to be desired.

Even if the Knicks were cool when Derrick Rose no-showed for a game, Ice Cube made clear that won’t fly in the BIG3:

“We don’t want to be a league of nostalgia and not a league of competitive basketball. Just with the names we have, nostalgia comes with it. But getting these guys to play hard is key.”

The BIG3 needed Iverson to grab eyes in its inaugural season, but it’s good to see the league won’t put up with nonsense, even from its stars, that could jeopardize its future.


About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.

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