The answer was “The Answer.”
NBA 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson, the undisputed face of the inaugural season of the Big 3, the three-on-three mainstream basketball league featuring many former NBA stars, put together by legendary hip-hop artist and actor Ice Cube.
The two-month long schedule began on Sunday at the Barclays Center.
On April 30, the eight-team, 40-plus player league held a draft, in which former players like Steve Francis and Latrell Sprewell actually went undrafted.
So everyone is taking this pretty seriously, including some of the fans. Speaking of fans, the 15,177 in attendance loved it.
Anyway, Iverson himself spoke to a full press room after his squad, 3’s Company, defeated the Ball Hogs, led by Brian Scalabrine and Josh Childress, in game three of the four-game afternoon.
“The sky’s the limit. I didn’t expect it to be like this,” said a wide-eyed Iverson in what was a highly entertaining presser. “I just think it’s going to get better and better. I was fortunate and honored enough to be one of the first guys to be a participant in this.
“Cube wanted me to be the face of the whole thing,” he added. “I told him you’ve got to give me three titles. I need to be a player, and that’s going to be limited, a coach and the captain.
Iverson only played nine minutes, scoring two points on 1-of-6 shooting. Iverson put up the lowest amount of points on 3’s Company, and he insists that this isn’t out of the ordinary.
“I think the best part about this game here tonight, and all the other games, is the excitement throughout,” he said. “It didn’t need ‘Allen Iverson the player.’”
He says not to expect the Iverson of old, and playfully rejected an assumption that he would lay low and unleash the real A.I. in the playoffs.
“No, no,” Iverson said with a smile. “I’m 42 years old and retired six or seven years. The only reason I get out there for the couple of minutes that I do is for the fans.”
The captivating thing about the Big 3, aside from former NBA ballers like Iverson, Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups, Rashard Lewis and Mike Bibby, is simply three-on-three basketball.
Three-on-three is grassroots basketball. It's where bonds are built, names made, fouls go uncalled, smack is talked and fights have been started.
All in the name of love and basketball, or the love of basketball.
“That’s where it starts, three on three,” Iverson said. “It exploits you. If you can’t play defense you’re in trouble.”
As far the raucous “we want A.I.” chants as Iverson checked himself out of the game, he saw it coming and doesn’t like it.
“I can’t stand it,” he said, laughing. “I knew I was going to have to deal with it. I was saying to myself before the game; ‘man, if I don’t start the game, then I’m going to have to hear it as soon as it starts.’”
The games will air on Fox Sports One on Monday nights following the league's Sunday showcases. Next week the Big 3 will head to North Carolina, followed by Oklahoma and nearby Philadelphia. The championship is scheduled for August 26 in Las Vegas.