BIG3 star Rashad McCants talks Trilogy, Gary Payton, Charles Oakley, and more
The first season for the BIG3 League is nearing its end with team Trilogy dominating the competition heading into the last week of the regular-season play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Rashad McCants has been a big part of the team’s success as they’ve gone undefeated throughout their first seven games.
As the BIG3 playoffs draw near and Trilogy in contention for the first title in league history, McCants took some time to talk to ClutchPoints in a one-on-one interview about his experiences throughout his first season. McCants also talks about his an upcoming free basketball clinic put on by the league in North Hollywood, California and the #DoUrPart initiative.
Ryan Ward: Your BIG3 team, Trilogy, is currently 7-0. The only undefeated team in the BIG3. Will your team go the distance and win it all?
McCants: “Only time will tell. We are taking it game-by-game. One game at a time.”
What has it been like playing alongside Kenyon Martin and Al Harrington? How has it been being coached by Rick Mahorn?
McCants: “For the most part, Kenyon and Al have been everything that they were when they were coming up. My idols. People I look up to, and they have been very instrumental in our success, and so has Rick Mahorn.
“Coach Rick Mahorn, I had a conversation with him yesterday, he’s always been a very outgoing, outlandish, outspoken guy, but the respect I have for him as a coach exceeds any coach that I’ve ever had because he understands players. He’s a player, and he understands the coaching mentality that you have to have to deal with players, so my respect goes out to those three individuals with great appreciation.”
Has anything surprised you about the BIG3 and how it has all come together at this point in the season?
McCants: “The only thing that has been surprising is that it is not bigger. It should be a lot bigger than it is right now. I think that we should definitely receive more support from the former players. Guys who’ve retired. See that we’re trying to make strides in a new league. That’s really the surprising thing. Not to see Shaq and Charles Barkley and all the other guys, the Hall of Famers, supporting all the other all the other Hall of Famers.
“I think if we can get a little more support from them and the other players, I think we can be exactly where we need to be.”
Why do you think these former players haven’t been as supportive as you’ve wanted them to be?
McCants: “I think it just needs to be proven. Everybody wants to see a proven league. It’s the first year, but this league is looked at to us as a players’ league. It’s for the players.
“So we expected more support from all the players, but we have gotten a lot of support from Russell Westbrook showing up, James Harden came out … Paul Pierce. A lot of former players have come out, but all the ones that have been in the past we’d definitely love to get more support.”
What has it been like touring the country with former NBA greats like Allen Iverson, Julius Erving, and Gary Payton?
McCants: “It’s something that you can never really fathom. In the NBA, you get to travel with your team, and if your team doesn’t have any Hall of Famers attached to it or any All-Stars attached to it, you don’t really get to experience what we get to experience at the BIG3.
“Being around Gary Payton every week [laughs] is more than enough. You get to have conversations with George Gervin, Clyde Drexler, Rick Mahorn, and Charles Oakley.
“Charles Oakley is one of the more fascinating characters in the history of the game. I mean, he just keeps it real. He’s a no-filter guy. So when you’re allowed to be around guys like that week in and week out, there’s nothing better.”
Has there been anyone else in the BIG3 that has left an impression on you other than Charles Oakley?
McCants: “As far as the Hall of Famers, Gary Payton. I think it’s because we’re cut from the same cloth when it comes to trash talking. He has a really good team in the 3 Headed Monsters that he feels can take us out. So that’s going to be our matchup for the BIG3 Championship I believe, and Gary Payton has always been instrumental to me and just to be around him this much is lets me know who he is as a person.”
Does Gary Payton talk more trash than anyone in the BIG3?
McCants: “Yes! By far. No question.”
Are you considering an NBA comeback or are you content with the BIG3 and where it is going?
McCants: “I get that question a lot. I think that question needs to be raised to the NBA. It shouldn’t be raised to me because I’ve been waiting for an opportunity for seven years now and I never got it.
“So is the NBA ready for my comeback? That’s the real question.”
What other former NBA stars do you think should join the BIG3?
McCants: “Whoever is not playing in the NBA, to be honest. It’s an opportunity for everyone to maximize national visibility. Still get a paycheck. Still be able to stay in the states.
“So all those guys that are going over to China for those big dollars, I believe that with the investors and things that are coming along with the BIG3 there will be a different kind of salary cap. Guys will be able to get some real money and not have to go overseas. All those names that are over there, guys that have been two or three years removed from the NBA, this is the spot for you.”
Is there anyone in particular that you think needs to be in the BIG3 League?
McCants: “There’s a few. Ike Diogu. He’s a good friend of mine. I think that he would be a great fit. Craig Smith would be a great fit. There are a lot of guys playing in the Drew League that would be great fits that have played in the NBA. One, two or three years.
“For the most part, there’s not one particular player. Anyone that is not playing in the league should definitely try out.”
You’re involved in the #DoUrPart initiative and Per Diems Against Poverty. Can you talk about your involvement and what it is all about?
McCants: “Per Diems Against Poverty is predicated to feeding the homeless. Participating in food banks using your per diem as an athlete. A lot of baseball players are involved in it right now. We’re trying to merge with basketball players. You get more basketball players involved giving their per diem away for food drives and food banks, and also the homeless people that don’t have food. It’s something that is definitely needed because our per diem is for our meals and we have more than enough, so it’s definitely something we can share.
“The #DoUrPart initiative is to solidify hashtag: #DoUrPart for what you’re doing in your community. Everybody is sitting around on their phones. Working. Doing something, but there’s always something you can do to help your community and that’s the whole initiative.”
You’re participating in a free basketball clinic setup by the BIG3 League in Los Angeles on Friday. What are the details of the event and how people can participate?
McCants: “We run a free basketball clinic with the BIG3 on Friday (Aug. 11) from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at North Weddington Recreation Center (10844 Acama St., North Hollywood, CA 91602).
“Boys and girls from 8 to 15 are available to come through and get some free advice on basketball from myself, Marcus Banks, Brian Cook, Corey Maggette, and Eddie Basden and a lot more NBA stars will come and surprise the kids as well. It’s something that we’re definitely passionate about.”
Follow Rashad McCants on Instagram: @RashadMcCants
Information on the Free Basketball Clinic to be held on Fri. Aug. 11 in North Hollywood:
North Weddington Recreation Center
10844 Acama St., North Hollywood, CA 91602
11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. PST