After racking up buckets and game-winners in the BIG3 league, newly crowned MVP Joe Johnson has garnered attention from potential NBA teams. Should it come to fruition, a Joe Johnson NBA return would be a milestone for the BIG3.
The BIG3 Milestone: A Joe Johnson NBA Return
In what started out as a nice “spin-off” of NBA basketball, Ice Cube’s BIG3 league has grown in popularity in its three years of existence. The BIG3 sells out arenas, has a new tv deal with CBS and has signed more well-known players. Milestones have been reached as the league’s third season draws to a close. Yet another milestone is on the horizon.
NBA veteran Joe Johnson, also known as “Iso Joe” has been making noise in the BIG3 this season. His clutch game-winning shots have caught the eyes of basketball fans and social media. According to recent reports, he’s also caught the eyes of potential NBA teams. After last seeing NBA action two years ago, an NBA return could be on the way.
Per Marc Spears of ESPN, Johnson has already worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers. In addition to the 76ers, the veteran has planned workouts with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin added the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets to the list of teams interested.
Not Just “Washed”
Johnson securing a return to the NBA could change the reputation of the BIG3 league. Given the nature of the rules (three versus three featuring former NBA players), many have labeled it “washed.” The BIG3 is essentially for players who are past their prime and those who cannot give it a go anymore. Only now, Johnson is shattering those narratives, one game-winner at a time.
He is proving that the BIG3 is not a league for players at the end of their careers. Instead, veterans can potentially use the opportunity to prolong them. Granted, you won’t find every single veteran joining the league with the goal of returning to the NBA. Some clearly enjoy the current stages of their careers. But regardless, Joe Johnson has proven that the BIG3 can’t be among many things, potentially prolonging one’s career.
Others Could Follow Suit
The job isn’t done by any means, currently, Joe Johnson is only working out for NBA teams. He hasn’t signed a contract yet or been granted a roster spot. He may very well end up not returning to the league. But the fact that he is being given consideration based on his BIG3 play alone speaks volumes. The question is, does that message ring loud and clear for other NBA veterans in the same situation?
NBA fans can immediately think of a veteran who would love to be in Johnson’s shoes right now. Carmelo Anthony is still on the outside looking in, hoping to end his career on an NBA team as opposed to being in the stands. Would Anthony give the BIG3 consideration should Johnson find his way back onto an NBA team?
Ego is the only thing standing in the way there, and Anthony would need to toss that aside. But it does bring a potential new path back into the NBA that did not exist before. If Carmelo Anthony doesn’t take advantage, that’s not to say others won’t.
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