The Big3 may not be a traditional route to the NBA, but some players have received looks from NBA teams thanks at least in some part to the league.
Ice Cube, who founded the halfcourt three-on-three league, launched the Big3 to give former NBA players who still had something left in the tank an opportunity to continue their playing career and scratch that itch to compete. After its third season wrapped up last weekend, 2019 Big3 MVP Joe Johnson now has several workouts lined up with NBA teams.
Ice Cube tweeted that even if Johnson doesn’t get signed, the fact that NBA teams are looking at players from the Big3 is a “huge win” for the league.
If he gets signed, it would be the most notable instance of a player jumping from the Big3 to the NBA. However, it wouldn’t be the first example of someone getting picked up by an NBA team after suiting up in the Big3. The following players received interest from NBA decision-makers after appearing in the three-on-three league:
The seven-time All-Star made a splash in the Big3, leading the league in points (21.9 ppg), assists (3.9 apg) and total four-pointers (4) while also finishing with the third-most three-pointers (16) during his first season in the league. After winning the Big3 title and MVP award, there has been reported interest from the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, L.A. Clippers, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers. It is also possible he waits until later in the season to sign with a team to ensure that he’s joining a contender and have a better idea of what role he’d play.
Stoudemire (a six-time All-Star) and Monta Ellis (the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2007) worked out in front of approximately a dozen NBA teams earlier this summer. The big man, who has five-time All-NBA selections, used his time in the Big3 to help get another look from NBA squads. He led the Big3 in blocks (1.8 bpg) while finishing Top 5 in total field goals (48) and rebounds (57) in 2019. His last NBA appearance was with the Miami Heat in 2016, but he has since won the Israeli League Cup (2016), Israeli League Championship (2017) and Israeli Cup (2019). Last season, he averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for Hapoel Jerusalem.
Silas played well in the NBA’s developmental league and overseas before becoming the fourth overall pick in the inaugural Big3 draft back in 2017. After averaging 9.3 points over eight games during his first season in the Big3 in 2017, the combo guard played in the G League once more before signing a brief 10-day deal with the Boston Celtics in March of 2018. It was not renewed and he never got a chance to see the floor during the NBA season. He also later had a training camp deal with the Denver Nuggets in September 2018, though he was cut before the season. This year, he played just two Big3 games, but averaged 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in those appearances. The wing is still listed on the roster for the Iowa Wolves, the G League affiliate for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Childress was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He made the NBA All-Rookie Second-Team in 2005, though he never made a huge impact during his NBA career. He did make some splashes while playing overseas, including winning the Greek Cup and finishing as the top scorer in Greece back in 2010. The 6-foot-8 wing played well enough during the inaugural Big3 season that the Denver Nuggets signed him in September of 2017, making him the first Big3 player to ink a deal in the NBA. However, Denver cut him prior to the start of the regular season. He averaged 19.8 points for Sanen Neophoenix while in Japan last year.