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EXCLUSIVE: Josh Smith talks BIG3, Hawks, LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Lou Williams, and more

Josh Smith, LeBron James, Lou Williams, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kevin Durant, BIG3

After two very successful seasons, the BIG3 League is making another big jump. This spring, Ice Cube’s league announced the additions of a number of former NBA stars, including forward Josh Smith.

Smith, now 33-years of age, has played 13 seasons in the NBA mainly with the Atlanta Hawks, while also playing for the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, L.A. Clippers, and New Orleans Pelicans.

Now Smith has a chance to showcase his talents in the third season of BIG3 league as the captain of Team Bivouac. He’ll be joined by co-captain Will Bynum, co-captain Anthony Morrow, Shawne Williams, C.J. Leslie, and Dion Glover. At the BIG3 Draft, Smith sat down exclusively with ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly and Ryan Ward to discuss the upcoming season, his goals, his NBA future, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Lou Williams, and more.

 


 

Tomer Azarly/Ryan Ward: Welcome to the BIG3. What went into your decision to join the league?

Josh Smith: “I had been chillin, sitting at home and working out for for a couple years and then I got the phone call. I think timing is everything. I believe it’s the right time for me.

What’s your goal here with the BIG3?

JS: just want to play some good competitive basketball. There’s still some good talent. Some young guys and some old guys. A great mixture that can still play, so it’ll still be exciting.

What does this mean for your NBA career? Does that mean you’re sort of done?

JS: No no, It doesn’t mean anything. Sometimes might have to go to other places to get back where you want to get to, but this is a good starting point.

My man, Ivan Johnson. Very competitive. You got a lot of guys out there that’s playing on teams. It’s just good to see guys still having the love for the game.

This feels like a bit of a reunion for you guys. You have Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, Ivan Johnson… Does it feel like a reunion?

JS: Amar’e Stoudemire. Josh Childress is here. Solomon Jones. Guys I’ve played with for a long time in Atlanta, and guys that I’ve played against as well. It’s great to see.

If you could pick your best 3-on-3 trio of all time, who would it be?

JS: Of all time? Phew… I got to go with… It’s a lot of isolation, so you got to go with Michael Jordan. Definitely Kobe Bryant, and I’d have to say probably Tracy McGrady. All guards. All guards to start off with.

If you had to pick two teammates, though. Who you picking?

JS: Will Bynum and I’d probably pick Joe Johnson or Al Horford. One of those two.”

Who are you looking forward to facing in the BIG3?

JS: I’m just looking forward to the competition. Nobody in particular who I’m necessarily concerned with. I just want to play some great basketball and give the fans something to watch.”

Do you still follow the NBA at all? What do you think of the Hawks right now?

JS: Yes, I do. They got a good young nucleus. In today’s game, you got to take the Philadelphia mentality. You got to trust the process. You can’t get anxious or jittery just because of the outside chatter. Look at what Portland is doing. They kept their nucleus together and they’re playing some pretty good basketball.

Do you think the Golden State Warriors are winning it all again this year?

JS: Man, I mean, they got to go through two good teams. I think they’re going to win this round. I don’t know how many games because they match up so well with Houston.

But the depth with Denver and the experience and depth in Portland… They got a battle in the Western Conference Finals.

Did you see Damian Lillard’s game/series-clinching shot? How do you react to that?

JS: Unbelievable. I mean, I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t believe it. From a basketball fan perspective, that was an unbelievable shot. With a heavy contest, it was unbelievable.

Was it a bad shot?

JS: Statistically, basketball knowledge-wise, it was, but you can’t say what’s a bad shot when you don’t know what a guy works on in the offseason. He might work on that shot more so than the average person, so you never know what’s a bad shot.

Obviously, he takes those shots consistently, so it’s something he works on. In his eyes, it wasn’t a bad shot. That’s why he hit them with the “Lol” (on Twitter) in response.

Are you surprised to see LeBron James not in the NBA playoffs this year?

JS: I’m glad to see him not in the playoffs so he can get a chance to get some rest, man. I think he got a lot of time on his hands, though. He’s giving everybody what they want on IG, though, so it’s funny.”

I got to take you back to 2015. You guys are down 3-1 to the Clippers. That Game 6, I was there for that. I was shocked. Can you explain making that comeback without James Harden on the floor?

JS: When you play like you have nothing to lose… We was down so much, you just playing so free. And then once we started seeing we started cutting into the lead, that’s when… I mean, I can’t really explain it. It’s something you just have to be a part of because it was an amazing experience. I really can’t personally put it into words describing how the feeling was, but it was amazing, man.

A moment of euphoria. Absolutely! One of the highlights of my career.

What do you think about what the Clippers are doing and the possibility of getting a big-name free agent this summer?

JS: It’s going to be interesting to see who they acquire in the offseason. I think since they demoted Doc [Rivers] a little bit, he’s back to coaching like he was in Boston. He had a nucleus where there wasn’t a lot of All-Stars. You have to tip your hat off to him. He made it work. They was the best team in L.A. Had no All-Stars on his team and the story about what my brother Lou Williams is doing is amazing.

You played with Lou Will, right?

JS: Yeah, that’s my little brother.

What do you think about the way he’s played?

JS: It’s something that we’ve seen all summer long. All you need as a basketball player is confidence from your coaches and teammates, and being able to play your games freely. You can only imagine what kind of like status that player can go to.

Did Lou always have that confidence about him?

JS: Absolutely. We call him Mr. 50 in the summertime. He averaged 50 still to this day. He averaged 50 points in whatever summer league he is playing in. We call him Mr. 50.