Big3 Is Basketball the Way You Used To Play

Big3, the three-on-three professional basketball league, brings its second season to a close tonight with a championship game between Power and 3's Company at the Barclays Center, and league commissioner and NBA legend Clyde Drexler couldn't be more excited. Not only will this weekend be filled with good basketball, this past season has been one of packed arenas and cheering fans.

It's Power versus 3's Company in the Big3's second season championship game Big3

"The second season has been gangbusters," Drexler told Newsweek. "We have a bunch of new talent infused into the Big3. It elevated the level of players, coaches, everything. We've almost sold out every arena we've gone to. Three-on-three professional basketball is here to stay. The Big3 is leading the way when it comes to that."

Along with the relatively new league, three-on-three basketball is set to debut at the 2020 Olympic Games and has seen some international popularity thanks to organizations like FIBA. Drexler says the three-on-three format for traditional basketball resonates with fans because more people grow up playing that way.

"You play more three-on-three than five-on-five. It's the basic fundamental of all basketball players. It's a lot of fun to watch," said Drexler. Of course, it helps Big3's popularity to have a roster filled with some of the best talent around. "You have ex-NBA players and current players in some instances, playing in half court games. When you have these seven foot guys out there playing half-court, it's so much fun to watch," he said.

Now that the league is on its second season, former NBA player and current Big3 analyst for Fox Sports, Jim Jackson, says the sky's the limit for what's to come. "The first season has been growth more than anything," he said. "[Big3 co-founder] Ice Cube, the players, coaches, Fox, everyone learned a lot from last year. It gave us an insight into what to expect this year."

Big3 games aren't your standard basketball experience, largely thanks to Ice Cube's involvement. "The co-founders envisioned it would be like an All-Star weekend every week when we showed up," Drexler said. "You may have your favorite singer belt out a few of your favorite songs at a time out, because Ice Cube knows all the entertainers, and they all come. Sometimes they'll be asked to sing a song. It's hilarious. It's non-stop entertainment and it's a lot of fun."

Despite the fun atmosphere, Drexler wants fans to know the level of play is as competitive as it gets. "We allow physicality and hand checking, like basketball from the 80s and 90s," he said. "And you have to make real moves to score, you can't just run into somebody and throw the ball up to go to the free-throw line. You have to make real moves. It's grown-men basketball, as we like to call it."

Once the second season wraps up, the third season will begin preparations to start right after next year's NBA Finals. If things were up to Jackson, the third season of Big3 could be the best one yet because of the NBA talent eligible to play. "Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili when he eventually gets done, Dirk Nowitzki when he gets done. All these former guys will come in and play ideally," he said. "Not to say that takes away from anyone playing right now, and it's not necessary for these guys to play for the league to survive, but the league will continue to grow because it's done the right way. It's designed to be serious, but fun. The guys take it that way, and the coaches take it that way."

As for what team will walk away Big3 Champs, Jackson has his vote settled. "I picked Power, and I'm going to stay with it," he said. "We'll see what happens this weekend."

The Big3 Championships take place tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Fans can watch the games from home on Fox, starting at 8 p.m. EDT.

Big3 Is Basketball the Way You Used To Play | Sports