Kenyon Martin talks BIG3 Championship, Ice Cube, Mayweather-McGregor, and more
The final week of the inaugural season of the BIG3 League is upon us with Kenyon Martin’s undefeated Trilogy squad set to take on Rashard Lewis’ 3 Headed Monsters in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Ahead of the BIG3 Championship game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Aug. 26, Martin took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to ClutchPoints about his first season in Ice Cube’s new basketball league, along with some current NBA topics.
Ryan Ward: How has your first season in the BIG3 been so far? Has it lived up to your expectations?
Kenyon Martin: “It’s been great. I knew the competition would be there. I knew the guys would show up and play hard, but the biggest surprise to me has been the way the fans have bought into it and received it. Came out to support us.
“I knew once guys realized that it was serious, guys were going to come in shape and on board to compete. It’s been a blast. It’s been great to get back on the court to give friends and family an opportunity to see me play again. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
What has the experience been like working with BIG3 League founder Ice Cube over the past few months?
KM: “It’s been great, man. He’s a visionary. A businessman, so we learned a lot from him. It’s just been great to see the work that he’s put into this and the belief that he had going into it and seeing it come to fruition now.”
Trilogy is undefeated. Has your team come together better than you expected it would over the course of the season?
KM: “Yeah. Of course, we go out to win every game we play. At this point, I didn’t expect to be undefeated. But, we are.
“We’ve been challenged week in and week out, but we’ve got a bunch of resilient guys on the roster. We knew what we had to do to go out and win. So far it’s been going our way. Hopefully, on Saturday, it is no different.”
How does it feel that you could make history being the first team to win the BIG3 Championship and go undefeated?
KM: “It’s going to be great. We have a chance to do something special. Be the first BIG3 champions and be undefeated. So we’re going out and putting our best foot forward.
“We realize what is at stake as a unit and we’re going to accept the challenge. Keep our “O.” We’re down here with the fight. Floyd [Mayweather] got his “O” going into the fight. We trying to keep our “O.”
The first BIG3 awards were announced this week. Trilogy won quite a few. Do you feel you or someone else on your team was snubbed for MVP or any other award given out?
KM: “I can’t say that we were snubbed. We played well as a team. People kind of looked at that. We have two guys that maybe canceled each other out for MVP in Al [Harrington] and Rashad [McCants].
“I think Rashard Lewis was very, very deserving of the MVP. I voted for Rashard for MVP because I think without him his team wouldn’t be where they are. Losing Jason Williams early in week one and him having to carry the load offensively. He shot over 50 percent in every game, so he was very, very deserving of MVP.
“Al got the Too Hard to Guard award. I think Rashad will be unanimous First Team All-BIG3. James White, Defensive Player of the Year. Rick Mahorn, Coach of the Year. I got Player Captain of the Year, so I think we came out on top [laughs].”
What’s your prediction for the BIG3 Championship?
KM: “We gonna win this thing. I love our chances. I don’t know the score, but I love our chances going into this game. I love the matchup against the 3 Headed Monsters. I don’t think they have enough on the roster after Rashard. They move plays well, but they’ll struggle against us because we have size. I like our chances.”
There’s been a lot of talk and speculation over which players could or should be in the BIG3 League next year. Is there any player you want to see in the BIG3 in particular?
KM: “I just want to see it grow. Guys join on. There’s a lot of former NBA players. A lot of professional basketball players that’s looking to play in this league. I just want to see it grow. I want guys to come here and treat it as important as we did. If they do that, it’s going to be great.”
Is there anything about the BIG3 League that you’d like to see changed next year?
KM: “Nah. Everything is great. No knock on anybody. The referees are getting better. They’re learning our game, and we’re learning the way they’re calling it.
“It’s growing. Everything is a learning process. I’m looking forward to continuing helping this thing grow.”
Any stories from touring the country with BIG3 alongside Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, and Rick Mahorn?
KM: “Just to be around those guys in the locker room. Be able to play cards. Share hoops stories. Barbershop talk. It’s the best thing. Basketball part is great, but the comradery that we have with one another is A1.
“Some of the guys I’ve played on the same team with. Some of the guys I’ve battled with over the years, but we all have a rapport. We all have a special friendship, so that’s what guys miss a lot about not being in the league. That comradery.
“It’s been great having GP there having him talk. Being around Ice [George Gervin] hearing his stories. It’s just great, man.”
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: Who you got?
KM: “My boxing knowledge and heart is going with Floyd. I think McGregor will make a lot of mistakes, man. Floyd will capitalize. Punishing him round after round.
“I’m going to bet with McGregor, though. Just in case he gets lucky. I don’t think he’s going to win, but I’ll put a little money on McGregor.
“I do think Floyd will win easily. Hands down. Too skillful. Conor will make a lot of mistakes, and Floyd will capitalize.”
BIG3 Championship will be Live on Fox at 1:30 p.m. PT on Sat. Aug. 26.
Follow Kenyon Martin on Twitter: @KenyonMartinSr