On August 24th, 2018, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the BIG3 Championship was on the line, but to up the ante, history was on the line as well for the Nancy Lieberman coached team, Power. Key players such as Cuttino Mobley, Quentin Richardson, and Corey Maggette, were faced with the pressure of winning their first championship at the pro level and also had to deal with the pressure of guiding the first professional men’s sports team coached by a woman to a championship. With grit and determination, they were able to make history last night in front of a packed house of 13,054 fans in Brooklyn. But, that was not all that was on the docket. The 3rd place game between Tri-State and 3 Headed Monsters kicked off last night’s action after a crowd-thrilling performance by legendary rapper and BIG3 co-founder, Ice Cube. Here are all the highlights and moments from the action-packed night of BIG3 basketball.
3rd Place Game: 3 Headed Monsters( 8W-2L) vs Tri-State(5W-5L)
If I didn’t know any better, I would have believed that this was the championship game. Both teams played with heart and passion. The 3 Headed Monsters were without their co-captain and BIG3 rebounding king, Reggie Evans. This game was a thriller from the opening tip. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf fka as Chris Jackson sealed off the win for the 3 Headed Monsters with a game-winning dagger three. Abdul-Rauf led all in scoring with 28 points. On the other end, Tri-State’s, Amare Stoudemire might have earned himself an NBA tryout as he lived up to his S.T.A.T (Standing Tall And Talented) nickname. Amare led Tri-State in scoring with 22 pts. Nonetheless, Amare’s standout performance and all, The 3 Headed Monsters secured 3rd place in the standings with a 52-49 win capped off by the Abdul-Rauf game-winning three.
BIG3 Championship Game: Power(9W-1L) vs 3’s Company(6W-4L)
It would have made for a great story regardless of the outcome. 3’s Company faced adversity even before the opening tip in Houston. Last year’s captain and head coach, Allen Iverson was unable to return to the team this season. NBA Champion and WNBA champion head coach, Michael Cooper took over the team weeks before the season began, The team was also hit with the injury bug as their stand out player, Baron Davis was sidelined for the latter half of the season. On the other end, you had the story of Power. Coached by Nancy Lieberman, this team played with great synergy from opening week and it showed once again last night in the championship game. 3’s Company were able to jump out to an early lead, but Power was able to go on a 12-0 run to close the half after both teams nearly came to blows. Power was able to sustain the momentum from their 12-0 run to close out the first half and led by as much as 20 at one during the game (35-15). However, the team was clearly starting to press as the anticipation was building towards a historical achievement. 3’s Company showcased the heart of champions as the team was able to cut the deficit down to 15 (49-34) and THEN to as much as 6 (49-43) as Andre Emmet led 3’s Company on a surge. However, Cuttino Mobley would have none of that comeback talk as he sealed the win for Power with a game-winning mid-range jumper to secure a 51 to 43 win. Power was able to successfully etch their names in the history book as this championship will forever serve as a beacon for what women can do in a male-dominated sport. Quentin Richardson said after the game that”Coach Lieberman was as good as any coach he ever played for” and the camaraderie that this team showed throughout the season is indicative of his statement. This was also a season of redemption for Corey Maggette. Maggette tore his Achilles during opening week last year in Brooklyn and now one year later, the 2018 BIG3 MVP wins his first professional championship in the same building that he tore his Achilles in. These are just some of the examples of why sports serve as one the greatest form of human study of the capabilities of the mind, body, and soul and the lengths human beings are willing to go to achieve a goal. Here’s to looking forward to what life lessons next season will have to offer.