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Big3 2023 Season Awards


Earl Clark of Trilogy secures his second consecutive BIG3 Defensive Player of the Year title, showcasing a versatile defensive prowess that transcends traditional roles. Unlike the typical rim-protecting center or relentless on-ball defender, Clark is a defensive chameleon, adept at neutralizing any opponent’s strengths.

His blend of length and agility enables him to stifle smaller guards by forcing them into uncomfortable situations, while his strength allows him to stand tall against larger adversaries, contesting shots with authority. Leading the league in blocks with 13, Clark demonstrates not only his ability to meet opponents at the rim but also his knack for disrupting plays from unexpected angles, showcasing impeccable timing and basketball IQ.

One standout moment includes thwarting Elijah Stewart’s lightning-quick pull-up 3-pointer, showcasing Clark’s unique defensive acumen. Despite facing challenges like Isaiah Briscoe’s absence for much of the season, Trilogy leaned heavily on their defensive foundation led by Clark, culminating in a semifinal appearance and another successful championship run. Congratulations to Earl Clark for reaffirming his status as one of the premier defenders in the league.


Coach Charles Oakley of the Killer 3’s enjoyed a valuable asset in super-sub Dominique Johnson, recognized as the 2023 BIG3 4th Man of the Year. Opting for a starting lineup featuring Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session, Donte Greene, and big man Josh Powell, Oakley had the luxury of Johnson’s presence off the bench.

Johnson, a dynamic guard with both penetrating ability and sharpshooting prowess, provided Oakley with the flexibility to give Frank Nitty crucial rest periods without sacrificing offensive firepower. Given Frank Nitty’s intense playing style, characterized by immense energy expenditure, this strategic substitution became imperative. Furthermore, Oakley could electrify the game by substituting Johnson for Powell, creating a nearly unstoppable trio of Nitty, Greene, and Johnson.

Johnson’s impressive stats during the Summer of Fire included averaging 8.8 points on 45.6% shooting from the field and 39.1% from three-point range. His explosive playstyle and versatility significantly contributed to the Killer 3’s success, ultimately culminating in a winning record for the team.


Michael Beasley’s on-court game is characterized by his versatility and unpredictability. With his imposing size, he can dominate inside, showcasing graceful footwork reminiscent of a ballet dancer near the basket. Possessing one of the most diverse offensive arsenals in the league, Beasley can create scoring opportunities with his dribble, smoothly transitioning into mid-range jumpers whenever he desires. Despite being left-handed, he exhibits exceptional comfort driving to his right and boasts an extensive repertoire of runners and floaters from both sides of the hoop. And if conventional methods fail, Beasley isn’t hesitant to unleash his long-range shooting ability, capable of draining shots from beyond the four-point circle.

His innate scoring ability has made him a coveted asset for every team he’s played for, whether in the NBA or elsewhere. This season, Beasley averaged an impressive 21.6 points per game, earning him the prestigious 2023 Too Hard to Guard Award as voted by BIG3 coaches and players. Congratulations to B-Easy, undoubtedly poised to continue tormenting defenders in the seasons to come.


Renowned NBA icon and recipient of the 2023 BIG3 Coach of the Year award, George “The Iceman” Gervin, epitomizes cool both on and off the court. His trademark move, the finger roll, has become a staple in every player’s repertoire, a testament to his enduring influence. While mastering an underhanded shot like the finger roll isn’t easy, its effectiveness speaks volumes – just ask Hall-of-Famer and Ball Hogs Coach Rick Barry. This summer, Coach Iceman redefined the allure of dominance in basketball.

Amidst the prevailing trend of downsizing in both the NBA and BIG3, the emphasis shifted towards smaller lineups. The BIG3 witnessed a surge in guard prowess, highlighted by the exceptional performances of Leandro Barbosa, Jodie Meeks, Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session, Jordan Crawford, Elijah Stewart, Jeremy Pargo, and Ryan “Hezi God” Carter. It became evident that true guards were flourishing like never before in the league.

Among these standout guards was Mike Taylor of the Ghost Ballers, who, under Gervin’s mentorship, enjoyed a career-defining season. The Ghost Ballers strategically centered their offense around Taylor, capitalizing on his rapid dribble penetration and deadly perimeter shooting.

While Taylor played a pivotal role in the team’s success, it was Gervin’s strategic blend of size and outside shooting that propelled the Ghost Ballers to new heights. Bucking the small-ball trend, Gervin opted for a roster boasting muscular swingman Jonathon Simmons and three formidable big men – Charles Garcia, Chris Johnson, and Darnell Jackson. This size advantage enabled the Ghost Ballers to dominate inside, a rarity in a league increasingly dominated by speed.

Moreover, the Ghost Ballers’ proficiency from beyond the arc proved to be a game-changer, netting 42 three-pointers during the Summer of Fire, surpassed only by the Enemies and the Ball Hogs. Chris Johnson, once plagued by unfulfilled potential, emerged as the linchpin in Gervin’s system, excelling defensively in the paint while boasting impressive shooting percentages of 65% from the field and 61.5% from downtown.

Under Gervin’s tutelage, the Ghost Ballers morphed into a formidable force on both ends of the court, capable of overpowering opponents inside or dismantling them from the perimeter. Their versatility propelled them to the Semifinals, solidifying George Gervin’s status as the deserving recipient of the 2023 BIG3 Coach of the Year award.


The roster of athletes who retire at the peak of their careers is a brief one. But among them, the even rarer breed who return from retirement to reclaim their former glory constitutes one of the most exclusive clubs imaginable. Consider luminaries like Michael Jordan, who clinched three championships after his initial retirement, or the UFC’s Georges St-Pierre, who retired as the Welterweight Champion in 2013 only to resurge and claim the Middleweight Championship in 2017.

In the illustrious Summer of Fire, Joe “Iso-Joe” Johnson ascended into this select fraternity. Prior to the commencement of the 2022 season, Johnson already held the prestigious title of the greatest of all time (GOAT) in the BIG3. He earned the MVP honors in his inaugural year in the league back in 2019 when his Triplets secured the Championship. This accolade was repeated in 2021, marking a consecutive MVP achievement. (The absence of a 2020 season due to the pandemic interrupted this streak.)

Midway through the 2022 season, Johnson bid farewell to the BIG3, signaling what appeared to be the end of an era for the league’s most prolific player. Fortunately, 2023 heralded his triumphant return, driven by an unwavering determination. Although his reintroduction saw a lukewarm performance, with an 11-31 shooting display in a narrow 47-51 defeat against Bivouac, Johnson quickly found his rhythm.

Throughout the season, Johnson asserted his dominance in scoring and rebounding, with only Jordan Crawford surpassing his point tally and Michael Beasley outrebounding him. Additionally, his adept playmaking skills saw him rank among the top assist providers in the league.

Johnson’s multifaceted brilliance stems from his unparalleled combination of size, skill, and composure. His physical prowess enables him to overpower opponents in the paint and exhibit remarkable rebounding instincts. Possessing a legendary ball-handling ability, he can effortlessly pull up from anywhere on the court, showcasing a shooting range extending well beyond the three-point line. Crucially, he approaches each possession with a meticulous game plan, meticulously assessing his defender and adapting his strategy accordingly. Such tactical acumen has placed him among the elite few to score 20,000 or more points in the NBA.

Beyond his on-court prowess, Johnson’s leadership qualities shine through, earning him the moniker of a “coach on the floor.” Under his guidance, the Triplets consistently outperformed their adversaries, with Jeremy Pargo blossoming into a standout performer in the BIG3.

However, despite Johnson’s remarkable resurgence, the season concluded on a bittersweet note as the Triplets fell short in the Championship game against the underdog Enemies, propelled by a stellar 23-point performance from MVP runner-up Jordan Crawford. While Johnson reclaimed his MVP title upon his return, the league crown eluded him. Yet, true to his GOAT status, Johnson remains undeterred, poised to mount another title challenge next summer—following in the footsteps of MJ, who similarly faced initial setbacks upon his return to the court.

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