Barclays Center holds a special place in the heart and mind of Corey Maggette, a 14-year NBA veteran. The Brooklyn arena is where he played his last NBA game in 2013 and the site of his first BIG3 game four years later.
On Friday, he’ll add another Kings County moment to the list: the first time he played for the BIG3 championship. The Power, his team in the three-on-three basketball league comprised of former NBA talent, will face 3’s Company for the crown in the league’s second year.
“It’s been a long road, and it’s a blessing to be back in this position, especially to be able to be healthy,” Maggette told amNewYork. “More importantly, just to show the improvement with our team. It’s been a credit to everyone’s work ethic and the commitment to be professional and getting the job done every single game.”
Maggette had injured his Achilles in the BIG3’s debut in the Barclays Center last year and was forced to miss the rest of the season. This year was a redemptive one, as he was named league MVP on Tuesday for his part in helping the Power to a 7-1 regular-season record and narrow 51-49 semifinals victory over Tri-State last Friday in Dallas.
Brooklyn hosts a pair of games Friday, in traditional BIG3-style, that will air on Fox/5. Prior to the final, Tri-State will take on 3-Headed Monsters in the third-place game. League co-founder Ice Cube will hold a special pregame performance, returning to his rap roots.
“We were really happy with the turnout in Brooklyn last year,” Ice Cube told amNY. “With the turnout being so great and Brooklyn being a basketball loving city, we just felt like it was only right to come back and have the championship here.”
“In Brooklyn, the fans that we had last year were unbelievable,” Maggette added. “It’s no surprise that the championship game is in Brooklyn.”
The BIG3 has grown exponentially, both on and off the court, since its inaugural year through added sponsors, new marquee players and continued community service.
“We [have] just gotten better,” Ice Cube said. “We know what to expect, which is a lot of preplanning, that last year we kind of had to figure it out on the fly.”
“Everyone has done a phenomenal job,” Maggette said. “It’s unbelievable to see what all of these guys are doing. I want to make sure the world knows that this is more than just a game.”