Ice Cube and the Big 3 invaded Hotlanta on Sunday with three exciting games that featured many former NBA Superstars, but two former Atlanta Hawks players stole the show.
Josh Smith and Joe Johnson highlighted the afternoon in the first game of the Big 3 at State Farm Arena. While both players had astounding performances, it was “Iso” Joe who led the Triplets to a 51-45 win over Bivouac. But it wasn’t an easy task. Not only did the Triplets overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half, but Smith was unstoppable in the first period. He finished the game with 22 points and nine rebounds.
“That was a tough game for us right there,” said Triplet’s head coach Lisa Leslie said following the game.
The Triplets also got substantial contributions from Alan Anderson (11 points) and Chris Johnson (10 points).
Joe and Smith were guarding each other for the duration of the game, which provided more excitement for Atlanta Hawks fan in attendance. The matchup saw a lot of hand-checking and jawing between the two forwards. According to Joe, this isn’t the first time the two have gone head-to-head in a competitive, non-NBA game.
“Well, it’s always like that,” Joe said. “We both still live in Atlanta, and we still play pickup basketball together, so games are exactly like that. Very physical, a lot of arguing a lot of smack talking. That’s just kind of how it goes.”
Joe doesn’t take these moments for granted, and he expressed his appreciation of the crowd cheering him on after he made a basket. In fact, he recalled hearing Hawks PA announcer Ryan Cameron shout out his famous “for three” line when Hawks players cash in from beyond the arc.
“I can hear him now,” Joe said. “It definitely brought back some memories, and it was a great feeling obviously to still come out and compete and have fun at my age and enjoy the game with these guys and my coaches.”
What makes the experience more fun is that Joe is playing at a high level and many have already considered him the Big 3 MVP of the season. Joe is averaging 24.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Most importantly, he is leading a Triplet’s team that is 3-0 and in first place in the league. They will look to continue their winning ways against Tri-State (1-2) in Brooklyn, NY.