BIG3 MVP and Champion Joe Johnson thankful to Ice Cube; eyeing workout with Clippers, other NBA teams
LOS ANGELES – On Sunday afternoon, Joe Johnson wrapped up the third season of Ice Cube’s BIG3 League with an MVP and a Championship title. In the process of being, by far, the league’s best player, ‘Iso Joe’ secured himself a an opportunity to return to the NBA in the coming weeks.
Johnson finished the nine-game regular season averaging 21.9 points (first in BIG3), 7.5 rebounds (fourth in BIG3), 3.9 assists (first in BIG3), and 1.1 steals (second in BIG3) per game. More importantly, he reportedly got a lot of NBA eyes on him as took games over countless times, hit multiple game-winners, and ultimately led his team to a title.
“I’m just enjoying the process,” Johnson told ClutchPoints after winning the championship. “To be at my age, still being able to compete and play hard, play at a high level against these younger dudes, for me it’s been unbelievable. Like I said, I’ve just been enjoying this process and continuing to work.”
In the semifinals, Johnson hit the game-winning shot in front of New Orleans Pelicans’ GM David Griffin, head coach Alvin Gentry, and rookie star Zion Williamson. He worked out with the Sixers in Philadelphia a few days later before the Championship game. Johnson then hit the game-winner in Sunday’s title game in front of LeBron James, Montrezl Harrell, and a slew of basketball fans. The seven-time All-Star tells ClutchPoints he has a few more workouts over the next couple of weeks, including one with the LA Clippers.
“For me, within the next couple weeks, I’ve got quite a few workouts with different teams,” Johnson added. “I’ve got a couple more workouts, but right now I’m gonna enjoy this moment, take great care of my body, enjoy this whole process. I haven’t worked out for the Clippers yet, but it’s coming up soon. It would be great to join them or any of those teams.
“To be at my age, still being able to play and compete and have a chance to get back to the NBA is very special. I just take it one day at time.”
Joe Johnson’s last run in the NBA came during the 2017-18 season as a 36-year old member of the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. Now 38 years of age, Johnson is hoping for one last run at the NBA and a Championship.
Johnson joined the BIG3 not necessarily knowing what to expect. Although multiple players suffered season-ending injuries, the league’s popularity continue to grow for allowing former NBA veterans as well as overseas players to still play the game they grew up loving. For those players who couldn’t compete at the NBA level any more due to their injury history, it allowed them to go out on their terms.
“I think we all have many different reasons for joining this league,” said Johnson. “For me, it was camaraderie with the guys. When you’re done playing professional basketball, that’s what you miss the most. Being around the guys, laughing, talking, having a great time. For me, that’s what I missed more than anything so getting a chance to do that with these guys was fun. I didn’t come into this league thinking I was going to lead the league in scoring, assists, that wasn’t my purpose. Just wanted to come in, play hard, have fun, and enjoy the whole process. Everything has kind of unfolded the way it has organically. I didn’t have any motive when I got into this.”
Even if a phone call from an NBA team doesn’t arrive, ‘Iso Joe’ is more than content with competing with his former peers in the BIG3.
“BIG3 has definitely given me momentum to go into workouts with different teams, so I just want to thank Ice Cube and the BIG3 for putting this together and allowing me to come in and compete. This opportunity alone has been awesome to me. Whether a team picks me up or not, I can still say I enjoyed this process.”