BIG3 continues to make “POWER” moves in pro basketball
BIG3 basketball crowned its second champion Friday night, while continuing to avoid classic professional sports practices and embracing the new evolving world.
The final buzzer sounded late Friday night in Brooklyn, New York wrapping up the second season of BIG3 basketball. This year’s champions, team “POWER,” is filled with recently retired NBA players and an innovative head coach in basketball veteran Nancy Lieberman.
The BIG3 Coach of the Year guided the team to a championship in her first season, once again fueling the argument there needs to be female head coaches in traditionally male professional sports leagues.
This is an argument fully supported by the league’s co-founder Ice Cube, who shared his feelings during the trophy presentation.
“Let’s break all these ceilings. Let’s break all these barriers. A female can do anything in sports!”
Lieberman currently serves as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings and has previously held coaching positions in the WNBA after a long-playing career.
HoopsHabit was on hand as Lieberman opened up about her experience in the BIG3 during her team’s celebration post game press conference.
“When i had the opportunity to coach this team, I was blessed beyond recognition, Everyone has a part It’s not about the coach it’s about the coach allowing players to have an input. This is a players league. Each of us come from a different path, different journey but it brought us together, together we have the ability to change the world. we are the agents of change. without this opportunity we can’t do what we do together. We are going to be friends for life.”
Lieberman’s Power squad collected awards throughout the season, with Corey Maggette earning league MVP honors and Chris Andersen being named Defensive Player of the Year.
Andersen, who was praised by his coach and teammates tremendously during the post-game press conference, shared his belief in Lieberman being able to coach men.
“Of course she can coach a different gender, a bunch of men. She’s a mother, she has a son who turned into a man, so why can’t she be the one to coach a man. she obviously has accomplished that.”
The celebration at the podium also supplied plenty of emotion for “POWER” player and former Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis. Davis visibly broke down during the press conference sharing his joy for playing in the league and its role in helping him fight depression.
“I was dealing with depression before i accepted the contract with you guys mentally because when i left the game. i left the game in a different phase and you guys brought that back to me. I’ve been going through a lot of crazy things lately that are just not who I am, (Ice) Cube and Clyde (Drexler) stuck by me they knew who i was as a person.
“This team stuck by me in spite of what everybody said out there. It’s been a long journey it’s been crazy for me and this BIG3 organization, the camaraderie, the people, the love it’s a great thing and I’ll promote this league as long as i play basketball i will be in the BIG3.”
The importance of most players needing another basketball outlet after their NBA career has ended continues to make the BIG3 valuable.
It also fuels yearly speculation as to which former all-stars will come on board, like Kobe Bryant, whose name was rumored to be interested in joining next season.
BIG3 Commissioner and Basketball Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler shared his thoughts on acquiring new players, possibly Manu Ginobili.
“We are going to do anything short of stalking Manu Ginobili, he is the perfect BIG3 player. He can handle off the dribble, he’s a good two-way player and plays with passion. That’s what the BIG3 is all about guys who still love the game and could get it done.
“So the BIG3 is made for Manu we are gonna try to get his teammate Tim Duncan as well, as well as Kobe (Bryant) and anyone else who we feel will be a great fit to help these teams win.”
The league is serious about expanding with more teams in future seasons as it continues appeal to more players. It will be interesting to see the NBA’s reaction to the league’s growth and potential for more crossover opportunities.