It came as no surprise the last Sunday when Will Bynum drove the left baseline and cooked Alan Anderson for a layup that gave Bivouac a 19-12 lead over Triplets in State Farm Arena.
He’s done that thousands of times, notably while wearing a Georgia Tech jersey as he plowed through Oklahoma State’s Cowboys to drop a shot with two seconds left in a game to give the Yellow Jackets a 67-65 lead. That held up in the 2004 NCAA semifinal.
If you just walked in out of the blue, though, it was a surprise to see Bynum wearing the same jersey as former Tech teammate Anthony Morrow and even Dion Glover, who preceded both of them on The Flats.
They’re teammates now, forming half the roster for Bivouac as one of 12 teams in Big3, the 11-week, three-on-three, half-court professional basketball league created in 2017 by rapper/actor Ice Cube and entertainment mogul Jeff Kwatinetz. The league has become a thing, routinely drawing 10,000 or more fans each weekend with games televised on CBS or the CBS Sports Network.
You could tell last Sunday that players – a mix primarily of former NBA regulars and Americans who’ve played a lot of international ball — were having a blast. Why not? They’re being paid $10,000 per game and then some to do what they love once a week. There’s plenty of trash talking, and intriguing rules that speed up games played to 50.
And they’re in America! When Bynum, 36, last drew a paycheck for playing his beloved basketball, he was in Turkey last winter.
“Being able to play at home during the summer in front of family and friends, it’s just an amazing thing,” Bynum said after scoring 10 points with four assists in a 51-45 loss to Triplets, who were led by former Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson.
Bynum, 36, Morrow, 33, and Glover, 40, are teammates with former Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith, 33, an Atlanta native who is the principal of Bivouac. Smith years ago gave thought to attending Tech and scrimmaged regularly with Bynum and Morrow after competing against them in youth basketball and before beginning a 12-year NBA career, mostly with Atlanta.
Smith invited Bynum and Morrow to be co-captains of this expansion team (the Big3 expanded this year from eight to 12 teams), and then he and head coach Reggie Theus drafted Glover, who’s in his third Big3 season.