Iso Joe Won’t Be The Last BIG3 To NBA Success Story

Joe Johnson is the first BIG3 participant to successfully use the 3-on-3 league as an NBA audition.

From the moment Iso Joe, a seven-time NBA All-Star, hit the floor, he seemed a step ahead of everyone else in the league.

The 38-year-old is less than two seasons removed from NBA service with the Houston Rockets and he dominated Season 3 of Ice Cube‘s burgeoning league, breaking the scoring record, leading the league in points per game (21.9) and winning the MVP Award, while leading his team Triplets into the BIG3 Championship on September 1.

As a matter of fact, Iso Joe was so superior to the rest of the League that the NBA now wants him back as several clubs will be awarding Grandpa Joe a workout.

When Ice Cube started the BIG3 League, we knew that some former NBA players would try their hand at the new 3-on-3 League as a way of reliving their former glory, perform in front of crowds and prolong pro careers.

That first season, legends like Allen Iverson suited up and provided the fans with a nostalgic moment for the ages, but his body was done, the skills were diminished and A.I. was a shell of his former self. He couldn’t make it past one game.

It was a clear indication that the players you see on the BIG3 court might look like the same guys you saw killing in the NBA, but age and rust have set in, so don’t expect the same player. Don’t even expect the same passion.

Johnson, on the other hand, still has NBA-level skills and most importantly, a passion for basketball and everything it entails.

Some guys, such as Corey Maggette and Rashard McCants became more impactful and popular BIG3 players than they were in the NBA.

Maggette once told me that the thing he likes more about BIG3 than the NBA is the fact that he “doesn’t have to run up and down the court constantly and get winded. His body “couldn’t handle that anymore.”

Maggette’s statement didn’t do much to change the perception that BIG3 ball is your grandfather’s dream situation, just with all of the Hall of Fame trimmings and nostalgic names. But Johnson’s opportunity to get back into the NBA because of his success in the BIG3 does.

With the influx of former NBA studs and fan favorites into the BIG3, it was already considered a retirement home for what some would call “washed” or “withering” NBA guys looking for more action.

Johnson has flipped that narrative and in just three seasons Ice Cube’s league has become viable, competitive and talented enough for NBA teams to start looking at the league as a potential talent source.

Mark this day in history. It’s the day that the novelty BIG3 League became legit.

Back to top