Al Harrington talks New York Knicks and Champions Basketball League

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 27: Al Harrington
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 27: Al Harrington /

The playing career of former New York Knicks forward Al Harrington continues along with other NBA alumni in the new Champions Basketball League.

Al Harrington spent two seasons from 2008-10 with the New York Knicks, sticking it out through both losing campaigns while putting up respectable stats. In 140 games, Harrington averaged 19.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 32.7 minutes per game before being traded to the Golden State Warriors.

After 16 seasons in the NBA and a brief stint in the Chinese Basketball Association, Harrington has  turned his attention to a new league. The Champions Basketball League, a new professional basketball league made up of former NBA players, will tip-off its inaugural season this summer, starting next week in Long Island, New York. The game features five-on-five, full-court NBA regulation play with 19 former NBA favorites going head-to-head.

Notable players include Harrington, Chris Copeland, Carlos Boozer, Daniel ‘Boobie’ Gibson, Raja Bell, plus featured Knicks legends like Gotham Ballers team president Walt “Clyde” Frazier, general manager Earl Monroe and coach John Wallace. Former NBA champion with the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons, Mark Aguirre serves as the president of basketball for Champions Basketball League. He shared his thoughts on the first game taking place on Aug. 23.

"“We’re thrilled to bring this great talent to Long Island, who are all former NBA players, have passion for the game, and have a fierce competitive spirit. We’re looking forward to our 2017 Showcase Season, which will make for great basketball and will introduce the league to fans in New York and across the country.”"

I had the opportunity to speak with Al Harrington about the new league, his tenure with the Knicks and experience with Ice Cube’s Big 3 tournament.

What made you want to join the Champions Basketball League?

"“It’s been over year since I was introduced to this opportunity, obviously I just wanted to do it because I felt like I could still play. I felt like it was a platform that allowed guys that felt like they still had something left in the tank to find out if they did and the fact that everyone is taking it pretty serious, getting their bodies prepared and getting ready for this moment and for these games, I think it should be a pretty solid product.”"

How were the players divided into teams?

"“They tried to get players that played in the New York area either played high school, college or actually played for one of the professional teams there and I think that’s how they tried to determine which players played on which team. Obviously me being from New Jersey and playing for the Knicks, it just made sense for me to be on the New York team.”"

As a former New York Knicks player were you involved in the 70th Anniversary celebration?

"“They brought me in and Quentin Richardson as the two guys that they had honored during a game in January it was an awesome opportunity.”"

How did you get the “Al Buckets” nickname?

"“That was a name that Gus [Johnson] gave me when I played for the Knicks, the game was in Portland I think I hit like three shots in a row to get us the lead and win the game and he said ‘My name is Al Harrington and I get buckets.’ It kinda stuck with me and I’ve been a bucket-getting dude ever since.”"

How has your experience been with the Big 3?

"“It’s awesome. I mean, it’s a different type of basketball. I like how it gives players opportunities to go out and make some money cash in on their fan presence. My team is undefeated we are going into the playoffs this Sunday. It’s been great to be a part of. Ice Cube is amazing, he hasn’t missed a city that just shows the type of commitment he has towards the league and I think that’s the reason why it has been successful.”"

Champions Basketball League action gets underway as Harrington and the New York Gotham Ballers take on the Los Angeles SuperStars at the NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.

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The inaugural season will end with a championship tournament in Las Vegas on Sept. 28-30.