Kobe Bryant playing in Ice Cube’s Big 3 basketball was the talk of the basketball world this week. On the league’s conference call, the league’s co-founder, Jeff Kwatinetz said that “a good source” told him the former Laker was “gonna play” next season.
Bryant’s reps shot it down and the topic has been “a thing,” leading to his 40th birthday on Thursday and the social media observed, “Mamba Day” holiday on Friday.
A person in Bryant’s camp informed me this week that Bryant is “enjoying retirement” and has not mentioned any interest in playing in the Big 3.
“I’m a fan of it,” NBA free agent, Jamal Crawford told about the Big 3 league on Scoop B Radio.
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Last summer, Crawford reportedly turned down offers from the State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to receive more playing time with the Minnesota Timberwolves. After one season with the T-Wolves, Crawford turned down a $4.5 million player option with the team and is still waiting for a contract. “I thought the fit didn’t feel right,” Crawford said on Scoop B Radio.
“For me, I get it. I’m an acquired taste, I’m a gunslinger. I’m a player who makes plays, comes off the bench and scores, comes off with that freedom to make plays and play. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the situation, it just wasn’t the right fit. And sometimes that happens in the NBA. I’ve had a lot of coaches, I’ve played on different teams, and I’ve seen them fit with other people and in that situation, that’s what happened to me. I thought no matter what, money, whatever, happiness is more important.”
Earlier this month, Crawford insisted that playing in Philadelphia with the 76ers would be a great place to play. “I like their city,” he said.
“I like how into it they are about basketball, I like their knowledge of basketball, how passionate they are. I’ve always loved Coach Brett Brown. I’ve been on record, I’ve been a fan of his for years. He just needed talent, and now he has that. He added Ben Simmons, I love his game.”
At 38, many have questioned his age at this point in the game. However, in 80 games last season, Crawford averaged 10.3 points, 2.3 assists and 1.2 rebounds while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from three-point range. Those numbers at his age would be attractive to The Big 3 league. “I watched a BIG3 game in Seattle and I saw the intensity,” said Crawford.
“I saw the energy, I saw the passion they felt when the crowd was still cheering for them. That’s something that you can’t duplicate in the LA Fitness. So, for them, I was really happy and it gives them something that kind of transitions nicely until they finish playing.”
This past decade, Crawford has been one of the NBA’s top reserves. He also hardware to support that: he was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year three times.
While the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers are likely suitors in the Crawford sweepstakes, million dollar question: will his next team be his last? “I’m not sure,” he said.
“Because now, in the NBA, things constantly change. And I think, growing up in the 80s, you could identify players because you knew that with the Lakers, Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Byron Scott, they would be there 8, 9 to 10 years. With Boston it was Bird, McHale, Parish, Danny Ainge they’d be there 19 years. Now, it’s constant turnover, so I don’t know what the future holds.”
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson is the host of the Scoop B Radio Podcast. A senior writer at Basketball Society, he’s had stops as a staff writer at The Source Magazine, as a columnist and podcast host at CBS and as an editor at RESPECT. Magazine. In his downtime, he enjoys traveling, swimming and finding new sushi restaurants.