Last weekend, I had the absolute privilege to attend the BIG3 basketball tournament finals in Brooklyn, NY. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as the only basketball games I’ve ever attended had been NBA games. But I went in with an open mind and had some pretty high expectations. I had watched some clips of the games online and had read some reviews of satisfied fans that attended previous games. My expectations were even higher because I was attending the finals of the entire tournament.
There were actually 2 games to be played that night. The first was a consolation game to determine 3rd and 4th place. This was a matchup between Tri-State and the 3 Headed Monsters. Each team has 7 players and 1 coach. The games are played to 50 points, and halftime is whenever one of the teams scores 25 points. The highlights of the 3 Headed Monsters were NBA champion Rashard Lewis, guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and Qyntel Woods, as well as their coach and Hall of Famer Gary Payton. And for Tri-State, some of my favorite players were 6-time All Star Jermaine O’Neal, 6-time All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, Nate Robinson (who unfortunately was injured), and Bonzi Wells, as well as all-time great Julius Erving as the coach.
The game itself was very engaging and went down to the wire, but in the end, the 3 Headed Monsters pulled out a win thanks to a game winning shot by Abdul-Rauf. The final score was 52-49. Amar’e Stoudemire threw down several highlight reel dunks and David Hawkins posted a respectable 17 points and 5 rebounds, but in the end, it was Adbul-Rauf’s 28 points mixed with Qyntel Woods’ 20 points and 12 rebounds that solidified the win. Nevertheless, the game was very up-tempo and engaging from start to finish.
Actually, one of the best moments of the evening came right before this game. Ice Cube, who is a co-owner of this league, surprised the crowd with a vintage concert, which honestly could’ve been the highlight of the night (if there weren’t so many other contenders). Just seeing one of the greatest rappers perform some of his timeless hits live was a moment I’ll never forget. In fact, the entire atmosphere was electrifying. I sat fairly close to the court, so I had a full view of all the festivities going down on the floor of Barclays. I saw celebrities greeting each other and speaking like rap group Westside Connection, LL Cool J, as well as former basketball players like Carlos Boozer. I even managed to get a photo with Michael Rapaport. Overall, the atmosphere and seeing all these celebs in one place almost as spectacular as the actual game.
After the first game finished, the championship match got quickly underway. The showdown was between 3’s Company and Power. My favorite players on 3’s Company had to be Baron Davis (despite not playing), Drew Gooden, and Dahntay Jones, as well as the coach 5-time champion Michael Cooper. As for Power, they boasted perhaps the most impressive roster in the league. MVP Corey Maggette was the caption of the team, and other icons included Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Quentin Richardson, and Chris “Birdman” Andersen, and Hall of Fame coach Nancy Lieberman.
The game itself started to look like a blow out, as the Power were leading 3’s Company by 12 at halftime. And out of the break, Power were unrelenting, taking nearly a 20-point lead. But just when it seemed like the game was over, thanks to some heroics from Andre Emmett and Dahntay Jones, who finished with 24 points and 10 points respectively, 3’s Company made it a 6-point game with a score of 49-43. But ultimately, Power pulled out the win 51-43, and Corey Maggette was named MVP and Captain of the Year, while Nancy Lieberman got honors for Coach of the Year.
Overall, this game was arguably more lively than some NBA games I’ve been to and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next season!