If you’re anything like us, you’ve had a hard time being without basketball since the Nuggets won the Finals last week. Though the Draft is fine and free agency is interesting, we miss watching hoops. It kind of sucks, right? Even though the NBA is taking a break and Milwaukee’s season is over, a different professional basketball season is just beginning.
Of course, we’re talking about the BIG3. Entering its sixth season, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league brings former NBA staples, multi-time All-Stars, WNBA mainstays, collegiate standouts, and some Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Famers to the court for eight weeks (plus playoffs!) of summertime hoops action. The season kicks off Sunday, June 25 (with games broadcast on CBS and Paramount+) and, yes, there will be plenty of former Bucks players taking part as both players and coaches. If you want see some familiar faces on the court this summer, here’s a guide to finding former Bucks players in BIG3 basketball.
Former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley bounced around the league (including three stints with the Miami Heat) before winding up in Milwaukee and reviving his career as a role player on the 2016-17 Bucks. Following 56 games—during which he posted a career high three-point percentage—”Supercool Beas” signed with the Knicks, where he played 74 games for an abysmal New York squad during the 2017-18 season before finishing his NBA career (for now, at least) with Lakers the season after that. Now, after a couple seasons playing internationally and one year of BIG3 under his belt, Beasley returns to serve as a Co-Captain of 3’s Company.
Journeyman shooting guard Jodie Meeks enjoyed a long NBA run, which spanned more than 500 games and found him winning a ring as a member of the Raptors. That fairly accomplished pro career actually started in Milwaukee when the Bucks took the Kentucky Wildcats guard in the second round of the 2009-10 NBA Draft. His stay in Milwaukee lasted just 41 games before he was traded to the Sixers. Meeks is a Co-Captain on the Ball Hogs now.
We hate to remind you that former SupersSonics great and current Bivouac coach Gary Payton was briefly a Bucks player, but it’s true. When Milwaukee mortgaged its future and ushered in some pretty dark days by trading Ray Allen, the franchise got a total of 28 disgruntled regular season games from a 34-year-old Payton.
Beyond guys with NBA roots, BIG3 also has its fair share of players with extensive G-League and international league experience. Stewart falls firmly into the second camp, having played professionally in Finland, Poland, and in nearby Oshkosh. During the Wisconsin Herd’s 2019 season, Stewart spent approximately six weeks with the Bucks’ G-League affiliate in Oshvegas. Today, he’s a Co-Captain on the Enemies squad.
Former Jayhawks power forward Darnell Jackson played a total of 138 games spread between four NBA season between 2008 and 2011. Exactly one of those games was as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. During that single appearance, Jackson played nine minutes and made one shot for a total of two points. Now he’s a Ghost Baller.
This early press conference suggests otherwise, but Stephen Jackson was not happy during the majority of his brief and tumultuous Bucks tenure. After a contentious partial season with Milwaukee in 2011-12, Jackson wound up with the Spurs before finishing his playing days with the Clippers. In addition to his post-playing pivot to analyst these days, Jackson also coaches Trilogy.
Former Bucks player (and guy we once saw at a Colectivo) Larry Sanders has found new life in the BIG3 as a member of the Lisa Leslie-coached Triplets.
With the 12th pick in the 1972 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Julius Erving. “Dr. J” would’ve joined a stacked young franchise that also had Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but Erving opted to illegally sign with the Atlanta Hawks instead. An injunction stopped Erving from joining the team’s roster, and he went to play in the ABA. When the ABA folded in 1976, Erving signed with the Philadelphia 76ers, where the Bucks draftee would finish out his incomparable career. Super cool, right? Not really! Anyway, he coaches the Tri-State team now or whatever.
Other Players With A Local Connection
When Tri-State parted ways with Garlon Green a couple weeks into the 2022 season, Milwaukee native and Badgers alumnus Ray Nixon stepped in. He’s retained his spot on the team in 2023.
Ghost Ballers player Mike Taylor also hails from right here in Milwaukee, where he attended John Marshall High School.