Not 1…Not 2….But 3

the big 3

They say the best things in life comes in three’s whether it’s the last series of Fab’s mixtapes, threesomes, the amount of kids I have and the list goes on and on. We tend to see more usage of a Big 3 in sports particularly in basketball. Some say that this is a fad and will die off but those people probably remember Michael Jordan only on the Wizards so there basketball knowledge doesn’t count. This tactic has been used since the beginning with the Minneapolis Lakers led by George Mikan to the Celtics of the 60’s led by Bill Russell. The Big 3 component will always remain a focal point in the NBA. In recent years we have seen the Big 3 of the San Antonio Spurs, Heat, Suns, and Magic. One of my favorite Big 3 of all time was Run TMC with the Golden State Warriors. The combination of Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond was very exciting to watch. To see Tim do the UTEP 2-Step was like seeing a magic show live.

Well ladies and gentleman after speculation since draft day, there will be a new Big 3 in basketball residing in Cleveland, Ohio after the Cavs and Timberwolves have agreed on a deal to send Kevin Love to the Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 protected first round pick. LeBron will now be a part of 2 Big 3’s in basketball history. That isn’t uncommon as Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Ray Allen and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have done the same thing.

I became a basketball fan in the mid to late 80’s thanks to my grandfather who used sports to teach me how to add and subtract and perform basic math operations. Thanks, Grandpop. What were some of the greatest Big 3’s you have seen? I will give you some of my favorite Big 3 combinations not in sequential order.

  1. Golden State Warriors- Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond

Even though they only played together for 2 seasons they were a problem for any defense. Run TMC was the highest scoring trio in the 1990-1991 seasons. They had more than a little buzz like Chris Mullin-Wale voice. Currently, two of the three are in the Hall of Fame. When will Hardaway join them???????

2. Milwaukee Bucks- Ray Allen, Sam Cassell and Glenn Robinson

They played together for 4 years together (1998-2002) and were a team to watch. Ray Allen was feeling like Jesus Shuttlesworth when Sam Cassell was the wily vet and floor general and Big Dog in the post was a Big Dog. However they ran into a young scrappy ballplayer better known as Allen Iverson and not long after that trio disbanded.

3. Orlando Magic- Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson

This is one of the teams that benefitted from the draft lottery back in the 90’s. First they draft Shaquille O’Neal and in an unprecedented move traded Chris Webber for Penny Hardaway. In retrospect could you imagine that frontcourt of Shaq and Chris Webber? Good grief-Charlie Brown voice. Penny Hardaway was the first of tall point guard from the 90’s world drawing comparison to Magic Johnson but when they faced the Rockets for the chip and that infamous Nick Anderson at the free throw line proved too much for them. If only medical technology was as advanced then as it now when it came to Penny’s injury.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder- Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden

One day my son Reid will ask me about basketball and I will sit him down like Bill Russell does us in those Uncle Drew commercials. Man oh man three straight lottery selections brought together three of the top 10 players in the league but to no avail as James Harden was traded for Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb. I smell a 30 for 30 coming soon especially if Durant leaves OKC.

5. Boston Celtics- Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Anything is POSSSSSSSSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIBBBBBBBBBBBBLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEE-Kevin Garnett voice. We all know Boston is known for Big 3’s led by Russell and another one by Larry Bird. But this tandem wreaked havoc for 5 years running. Now Kevin Garnett won’t even shake Ray Allen hands.

6. Miami Heat- LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade

Not one…Not two. Not three players came together and created a stir across the league. 4 straight trips the Finals, 2 MVP’s, endless memes involving Chris Bosh and the most infamous champagne shower in NBA history. I prefer Henny if I win the chip. But let’s be honest with ourselves, LeBron is the greatest player in today’s game, Wade will go down as one of the best 2 guards ever and Chris Bosh will go down and the best of something before his career is over.

7. Charlotte Hornets- Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, Alonzo Mourning

The Charlotte Hornets teal uniforms and fitted hats alone are arguably the toughest uniforms of all time. But, with the combination of LJ, ZO and Muggsy were a young team worth watching every day. Whether it was LJ showing off his gold tooth and Converse, Alonzo and his high top or Muggsy and his point guard skills. Who remembers the jumper Zo hit from the foul line and sent them to the playoffs?

8. Houston Rockets- Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Kenny Smith

This trio of basketball players was known for offensive efficiency. Whether it was Hakeem Olajuwon making David Robinson jump like he was at a Kris Kross concert, Clyde Drexler running the fast break like Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl or Kenny Smith hitting clutch jumpers this team was a force to be reckoned as they won the chip against another Big 3 (Shaq, Penny, and Nick)

9.Utah Jazz- Hornacek, Stockton, Malone

What do you go when you add a black redneck, a PG from Gonzaga and a white guy that gets dropped by Jerry Stackhouse? You give up…you get the Western Conference champions two years in row. If it wasn’t for a MJ crossover (or push however you want to look at it) on Bryon Russell who knows maybe Utah has a championship banner hanging from the rafters but for now it’s just a debate in barbershops.

10. Chicago Bulls- Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant (or Dennis Rodman or Toni Kukoc)

I know some of y’all are thinking what took me so long to bring up Michael Jordan. Well, I didn’t want to state the obvious but in any discussion, the big Joker in the deck will always be Michael Jordan. From this union they won 6 championships and cemented one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.

I know this isn’t my all-time list and I know I have missed some so let me know what y’all think…


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