Speaking with Mason today, he expanded on his continuing efforts to lure Duncan to the league and is hoping he’ll have a change of heart. “I did reach out to him early on and I didn’t hear back,” said Mason. “But I think ultimately, it’s going to be a sit down. I am sure Tim has seen the games now and if he hasn’t, I am still planning on coming down to San Antonio to grab some food with him and try to get him in our league.”
Instead, the league’s founders chose to focus on what Iverson did do Sunday, meeting fans, signing autographs and creating a memorable moment for 76ers fans when he met with Erving on court before the game. “It was a night where the legend Dr J coached against another legend, Allen Iverson, with Dr. J winning that battle and going out on top,” Ice Cube said. “It was great to see those two legends embrace each other on the court. I think the fans really felt that moment between two guys who really had Philadelphia on their shoulders for so long. Of course we were disappointed that Allen couldn’t play. But this is professional sports, and it happens. Sometimes the guys we really want to go can’t go.”
Cube, has the BIG3 exceeded your expectations? Ice Cube: I wouldn’t say it exceeded my expectations—because I have high expectations for this league, higher than where we at now—but it’s definitely a great launch, it’s a great reception, great guys. The league is going to be as passionate and as serious as the players take it and they’ve shown us—even A.I.—that they really want to win. Which shows me that guys want to be the champions of the BIG3, and that to me is one of the most important things. Because if we can’t get our players invested, how can we get our fans invested? So, it’s just been remarkable that these guys who, come from all different kind of NBA pedigrees, and also guys who don’t need the money, still playing for each other, playing together, playing as a team and it’s just great, man, just to have guys playing basketball against their peers again.
Coach Gary Payton was absent for the media reception and both practices. Yesterday, the only point guard to win Defensive Player of the Year was reportedly on his way to Chelsea Piers. Not even the BIG3 commissioner and president knew his whereabouts. “He’s a big boy,” said Roger Mason Jr., while cruising around Chelsea Piers’ courts in a custom black suit, clearly bankrupt of answers. “He’ll find his way.” Today, Payton is unresponsive. This, a day before the BIG3’s debut and 3HM’s reintroduction. Turns out GP never made it to NYC. He was back home on the Left Coast. “I had stuff to do,” Payton would say later. “I had businesses to handle. Shit. This ain’t my motherfuckin’ job.” He laughs. “This ain’t paying my bills.”
“It’s important for the fans to know that I was all-in to be a coach,” Iverson begins to tell B/R Mag, after his Charlotte game, before bursting the hopes of cities anticipating the BIG3 arrival. “Me and Cube just thought it be cool for me to get on the floor for a little bit. But I’m not Allen Iverson at 25 no more. I’m 42 years old and been away from the game for six-seven years.” “So if you think you’re coming to a game to see The Answer, it’s not gonna happen.”