Sunday featured a tense moment for the BIG3 during its trip to Los Angeles, as a skirmish nearly broke out between James “Flight” White and on-court debutant Charles Oakley. The league hasn’t had anything like this happen, although it has tried to encourage players to be themselves on the court, even if that means talking trash and letting things get a little chippy.
To Rashad McCants, this is part of what makes the league so great. The former North Carolina star is now a member of Trilogy, the same squad as White, and he was asked about the moment between White and Oakley during his postgame press conference. McCants explained that this moment might have been hard for fans to watch, because they are used to the “softness” of the NBA compared to the more raw emotion of BIG3.
“You guys are so used to the softness of the league that you’ve never really seen guys argue on the court without the referees jumping in and saying ‘technical, flagrant, lala,'” McCants said. “We actually was out there, it was more satisfying for us to be able to get that out. That’s our passion, our true passion, competitiveness that have been held back for so long because in the NBA it’s not something that they’re accustomed to or they want, because it might get out of hand. But we were able to calm it down and it’s just a part of what we do, it’s a part of what we are.”
This is genuinely an awesome quote from McCants on the fight and a scathing critique of how games are policed in the NBA. From the perspective of fans, refs stepping in and calling technical/flagrant fouls when things are getting chippy is a necessary evil, but McCants is saying the thing that makes BIG3 so great is that the lack of officials means players have to take it onto themselves to calm things down.
Of course, it’s more likely that the NBA gets rid of the three-pointer before it decides to do away with officials, but McCants presented an interesting scenario in which the league looks to players to keep games in check. And who knows? Save for a Malice-at-the-Palace-type scenario, maybe that would work to some extent.