When you hear the name Rashard Lewis, the 2000 Supersonics, late 2000 Orlando Magic teams, and a dynamic, almost stretch-four figure come to mind. In a lot of ways, his game was ahead of its time. He would’ve fit in great in today’s era of space and pace, as a mismatch and a legitimate scoring threat.
Coming out of high-school and electing to skip college, he was one of few who transitioned quickly to an elite player. Within three years, Lewis went from playing 20 games his rookie year to playing 82 and 78 in his second and third seasons respectively. He’d be named to an All-Star team shortly after and would eventually move onto stops with Orlando, Washington, Miami, and now, the BIG3’s 3 Headed Monsters.
DIME caught up with Lewis to talk about the new league and his new initiatives for it, along with his career in the NBA.
Rashard, I wanted to first discuss what you’re allowing kids to do at the BIG3. We heard you’re working with kids to provide free tickets and access to the BIG3 games, is this true?
Yeah, so any kid that comes with a paid adult will get in free. When I was a kid, I wasn’t able to attend a lot of games because of the financial situation my family was in and I just want to allow kids to be able to get the opportunity to see basketball at a high-level. I just think it’s very important that kid’s get a chance to see a BIG3 game and hopefully, when they get older, some of them will do the same.
As a kid, you weren’t really able to go to games of this magnitude, was that a driving force or primary reason for you doing this?
Yeah, that was most definitely one of the reasons I wanted to do it. We weren’t the poorest family, but the most important things were to have clothes, food and school supplies but we didn’t have any extra to spend on extracurricular things like going to a professional basketball game or football game. So, I think it’s a good way to allow kids to see us for free. When you have two or three kids, it just comes to a lot of money for five or six tickets total. So hopefully, it’ll save families money and allow parents to show their kids professional basketball.
Talk to me about the BIG3, is this somewhat of a reunion for you guys? Obviously, a lot of you guys played with each other.
Yeah, getting that camaraderie and getting around the guys is great. Just having the introductory press conference and chatting with all the guys really excited me. Even just talking basketball with guys who played with or against you, that’s what we look forward to. We miss that and just seeing all the faces and people, it’s been incredible. It’s probably one of the biggest reasons we’re all in this league.