When entertainer Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz founded the Big3 in 2017, people weren’t exactly sure what to expect. Sure, there were a lot of big names thrown around, but would former NBA players get into the mix?
It’s been a success so far, with 12 teams made of mostly former NBA players competing in a three on three basketball game. Getting former NBA players together means that there will always be some competitive juices flowing, even if far removed from the biggest stage. One player who showed he still has the skill to play above the rest is Corey Maggette.
After retiring from the NBA in 2013, Maggette has explored a few different ventures off the court. It seemed like his competitive days were over, until the Big3 made a call to see if he would be interested during their inaugural year.
The worst start
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One of the main reasons why some doubted that the Big3 would work came down to the chance of injury. Even though it’s a half-court game, NBA players no longer train the same way they did during their NBA days. Sure enough, some injuries were popping up, including Cory Maggette. In his very first game for the Power in the Big3 in 2017, Maggette tore his Achilles and faced perhaps the end of his career.
At 37 years old and playing in a league where pay is nothing compared to his NBA paychecks, it would be easy for a 14-year veteran to walk away. There were times Maggette thought that way, but after going through surgery and the beginning of the rehab process, he was saying all the right things about trying to return the following year.
Bouncing back from an Achilles tear is one of the hardest things for a basketball player to do. Doing it at Maggette’s age almost seems impossible. It certainly helps that the league is only a half-court game, but it was still a tough process for him to get back in playing shape.
Not only did he get to get back in shape, but he hit the ground running with a point to prove in 2018. He turned in what many considered to be the best regular season performance in the league’s short history during his second season. He was rewarded with the 2018 MVP, finishing second in points, second in assists, and third in rebounds.
Being a top team in the regular season is one thing, but Maggette was looking for something that eluded him at the college and NBA level: a championship. The Power found a way to win the championship over 3’s Company in the final. Not only was it satisfying for Maggette and his teammates, but it capped off a long, improbable rehab process.
In 2019, many teams came back retooled and ready to challenge the defending champions. Maggette once again was up for the challenge, leading the team in points and rebounds on their way to the playoffs. However, they lost in the semifinals, ruining their chances of a repeat championship.
No one knows just yet how the league will shake out in 2020, but Maggette has shown that he is an integral part of the Power franchise. If he wants to play and continues to stay healthy, he will have a spot in this league. His unique size and skill set still allows him to create countless mismatch problems.
Where does Corey Maggette rank as best Big3 players ever?
In the three seasons the Big3 have had, Maggette has been a leader for a playoff team twice. The only thing that might be keeping him out of best in league history discussion is that he missed the first year. Some players have played well in the Big3 in all three seasons, while Maggette only has two on his resume.
With that said, he is one of only three MVPs, and he has a championship. Many believe that Joe Johnson put together the best performance in one season in the league by winning MVP in 2019, but his numbers weren’t too much better than Maggette’s. He also benefits from being a couple of years younger, with more recent NBA experience as well.
Maggette is on any shortlist of best players in Big3 league history. His comeback story is also remarkable, since some players would have called it quits as soon as they suffered an injury that severe. Maggette still shows that he not only loves and has a passion for the game, but that he’s still extremely talented when his body is right.