The BIG3 basketball league debuted on June 25 at the home of the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center. Several current and former Brooklyn (and New Jersey) Nets attended the inaugural event for the upstart league. Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Archie Goodwin and Quincy Acy all attended. Newest Net D’Angelo Russell (fresh off being acquired in the Brook Lopez blockbuster) made an appearance as well, seen in a series of pictures that showed the future of the Brooklyn Nets…
Repping #BrooklynGrit pic.twitter.com/l7VvNBTnB6
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 25, 2017
Also in Brooklyn were some Nets fan favorites (depending on who you ask): Brian Scalabrine, Reggie Evans, Kenyon Martin and more. Another former Net, DeShawn Stevenson played on “Power,” a team coached by Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler. Sports media personality Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson had a chance to speak with Stevenson, covering a wide range of Nets-centric topics. Video of the interview can be seen below.
Revisiting LeBron James, Jay-Z and the New Jersey Nets
Recently, a 2007 feud between Stevenson and LeBron James was revisited. In one of the most random feuds in NBA history, James recruited Jay-Z to take down Stevenson’s taunts. (Soulja Boy was also involved. Yes, that is a blast from the past.) In a now infamous dis-track, the former Nets shareholder used a sample of rapper Too $hort’s “Blow The Whistle” in his takedown of Stevenson. Surprisingly, Jay-Z’s backing of LeBron may have been a ploy to recruit the then ring-less LeBron to the Nets in 2010. Here’s what Stevenson had to say…
Scoop B: You came out of High School in the early 2000’s I had your Utah Jazz number nine jersey. Too $hort said the reason Jay actually came out with the song was because he was recruiting LeBron to come to the Nets. You’re a former Net, so from your perspective could you see the marketing idea behind him making a song like that?
Stevenson: Of course, for sure. I mean you look at LeBron right now you can’t deny he’s a hell of a player so it’s kind of like him having his back and that’s why I didn’t look at it as a certain type of situation but you know being from Cali Too Short knows we Cali people we move different you can’t do those type of things so I just took it for what it is.
Stevenson signed with the Nets right after winning an NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks. He joined a Nets squad that had just acquired Deron Williams and was playing its last season in New Jersey. Here’s what Stevenson remembers about the experience playing for the Nets…
“I love it, I love this city obviously we wasn’t winning and everybody knows if you in New York and New Jersey and you ain’t winning they’re talking so you gotta take the good with the bad but if you’re winning they got your back so I just love this type of atmosphere and I go out there and play. I grew up in this type of atmosphere.”
Brook Lopez – tougher than your average Disney fanatic
But probably the most interesting nugget from Robinson’s interview was a discussion on Brook Lopez, the Brooklyn Nets player turned Los Angeles Laker. (Yes, it still sounds weird.) Stevenson was actually familiar with both Lopez brothers dating back to their high school days…
Scoop B: You actually played with Brook Lopez. He just got traded to the Lakers for D’Angelo Russell.
Stevenson: Brook Lopez is from Fresno, I’m from Fresno I played with his older brother on the same AAU I been seeing Brook Lopez when he was like two years old so to see where he’s right now you know he’s a beast he’s been a beast and you know it is what it is.
Scoop B: What’s your funniest Brook Lopez story?
Stevenson: I was playing with his older brother Chris at an AAU game and him and Robin got in a fist fight in the stands. Brother on brother like blows punching each other they used to do that like every other AAU game so they about that life you know that fight that just happened? Yeah they been doing that forever they’re ready 24/7
Scoop B: Who won Brook or Robin?
Stevenson: One day it be Brook and the next day it be Robin it was like they be doing that.
Scoop B: Who has hands?
Stevenson: Both of them! For real that’s no lie you can’t take that with it.
You read it here first! The fun-loving, comic book-reading Lopez brothers are no strangers to fist fights. While the Brooklyn Nets and Nets fans will miss Lopez, he’ll always be remembered for his time as a Net. And yes, the man who popularized the three-goggles, DeShawn Stevenson, broke the news.
The end of the Brook Lopez era is a significant one for the Brooklyn Nets. Even the season where DeShawn Stevenson was his teammate feels like ages ago. A lot can change in five years. Luckily, the Nets aren’t using Jay-Z songs to recruit free agents. Sean Marks is using smart roster moves and killer restricted free agent offer sheets to improve the roster. And rather than lamenting Lopez’s departure, the remaining members of the Brooklyn Nets roster are working and bonding. That was seen at The BIG3. Now the Nets will shift to ushering in a new era of Brooklyn basketball.