Joe Johnson and Michael Beasley Shine In BIG3 Season Opener

Since launching five years ago, the BIG3 has provided fans with a fun and reliable source of professional basketball during summertime. Between being a platform spotlighting many familiar names who played in the NBA to reigniting a few of their returns to the league, the anticipation of the 2022 BIG3 season was high before its opening weekend, June 18th and 19th, in Chicago, IL.

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Headlined by the defending champion Trilogy going toe to toe with reigning two-time BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson and former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley making his debut, the action was jam-packed at Credit Union One Arena. And as someone attending their first-ever BIG3 event, I was certainly intrigued by what it entailed.

Even in a three-on-three, half-court setting, the NBA-caliber skillsets from BIG3 players were still evident, as well as their energy. But when aided by a unique twist to that classic half-court staple (The first team to 50 points wins, four-point shots and specific calls are handled by players playing one-on-one), it’s not a surprise the Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz-founded league is a success.

Here are my three takeaways from the BIG3’s opening weekend.

Joe Johnson is still Iso Joe
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Another day, another reminder of how much a bucket Joe Johnson is. Even at 40 years old, the 17-year NBA vet still possesses an incredible knack at scoring from all three levels on the floor, and that was evident on Saturday– 30 points in the Triplets’ 51-45 victory over the reigning champion, Trilogy.

Michael Beasley is still one of the most talented players, we’ve seen
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While his NBA playing career didn’t turn out as planned, there’s no doubt Beasley is one of the most talented players we’ve seen over the past decade and a half. Still at 6-foot-8 and in peak shape, the former No. 2 overall pick had a great showing in his BIG3 debut. Playing for 3’s Company, Beasley effectively and efficiently scored 26 points in the team’s 50-47 victory over Bivouc.

Rick Mahorn’s Aliens have a lot to be happy about
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While they didn’t make the playoffs last season, the Aliens have the potential to do so this year. Led by BIG3 championship-winning coach Rick Mahorn, the Aliens had a strong showing on Sunday.

In their 52-44 victory over the Enemies, the Aliens’ dynamic duo of Dusan Bulut and Karlis Lasmanis scored a combined 40 points and displayed a clear sense of comfort in playing three on three– given their experience of playing in FIBA’s three-on-three tournaments.


DJ Khaled is One of 11 Hip-Hop Artists With Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame features a who’s who of the entertainment industry, highlighting some of the biggest names in film, television, music, and even radio. Iconic actors, actresses, and pop stars normally come to mind when people think of celebrities with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a number of hip-hop artists who have also received this honor. Over the course of the nearly 50 years since the birth of hip-hop, several influential hip-hop artists have received their own star on the coveted Walk of Fame. 

DJ Khaled is the latest hip-hop act to receive a star on the Walk of Fame. The Grammy Award-winning producer, record executive, author, motivational speaker, and DJ has been a game-changer and hit-maker in the music industry for more than 20 years. His albums and anthems have topped the charts, while his cloth talks have gone viral. Earlier this week, the We The Best mogul proudly celebrated the momentous event accompanied by family and friends, including his wife, Diddy, Jay-Z, and Fat Joe.

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Several other hip-hop artists have been recognized for their achievements in music and entertainment with this prestigious accolade. Here are 10 other hip-hop acts that have received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Queen Latifah

Year: 2006

Queen Latifah set it off as the first hip-hop artist to represent the culture on the Walk of Fame.​ After first gaining notoriety in the late ‘80s as a female rap star breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry, she earned her respect in Hollywood. Whether starring in the hit show Living Single (1993 – 1998) or in major films such as Chicago (2002), the queen has reigned supreme. 

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Year: 2008 

It’s no surprise that Sean “Diddy” Combs was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Throughout his illustrious career, the Bad Boy mogul has been a powerhouse in music, television, and fashion.

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Pharrell Williams

Year: 2014

If you’re a fan of Pharrell Williams, then you know he’s more than deserving of a star of his own. The singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer who has achieved success in music, fashion, film, and several other fields received Hollywood’s stamp of approval after more than two decades of him helping curate the rhythm of pop culture. 

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LL Cool J

Year: 2016

One of rap’s first superstars, LL not only crossed over from hard-edge rapper to loverboy, but he also successfully transitioned into a respected actor. His credits over the course of his illustrious acting career have included In the House (1995 – 1999), Any Given Sunday (1999), S.W.A.T., and NCIS: Los Angeles (2009 -2022). 

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Year: 2016

Pitbull is an international superstar. Mr. Worldwide cemented his legacy with his hard work and hit-making abilities. He went from building his buzz on the underground hip-hop circuit in the early 2000s to landing No. 1 singles in more than 15 countries and selling over 100 million singles worldwide.

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Ice Cube

Year: 2017

Director, producer, writer, actor, and artist, Ice Cube is a founding member of one of hip-hop’s most controversial groups, N.W.A. The AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted rapper also became a Hollywood heavyweight off of the strength of contributions to classic flicks such as Boyz In The Hood (1991), Friday (1995), The Players Club (1998), and Barbershop (2002).

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Snoop Dogg

Year: 2018

One of the most influential figures in hip-hop, Snoop D-O-Double-G further cemented his place in Hollywood history by receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The OG rap and entertainment legend’s ceremony aligned with the 25th Anniversary of his classic debut, Doggystyle.

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Cypress Hill

Year: 2019

Cypress Hill made history as the first Latino-American hip-hop group to receive a star on the Walk of Fame. It wasn’t the first time the trio consisting of B Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric “Bobo” Correa etched their name in the history books. Back in the early ‘90s, the influential rap crew became the first Latin-American rap group to bring home platinum and multi-platinum plaques.

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50 Cent 

Year: 2020

50 Cent had the game on lock in the early 2000s with the release of record-breaking albums such as Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and The Massacre. Since switching things up and redirecting much of his attention to the small screen he’s continued to be a dominant force in entertainment with his G-Unit Film & Television and hit shows like Power (and its spinoffs).

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Missy Elliott 

Year: 2021

Rapper, songwriter, producer, and style icon, Missy Elliott joined the ranks of Hollywood’s finest when she was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame. The honor was one of the more recent additions to her extensive list of achievements, which has included winning Grammy, American Music, and MTV Awards, as well as being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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Sports Strength

Ranking The Ten Best NBA-Inspired Lyrics In Hip-Hop

If you’ve been around sports and hip-hop long enough, then you’ve come across this quote– “Rappers want to be like athletes, and the athletes want to be like rappers.” The two very influential entities, specifically basketball and hip hop, have a special chemistry. It has become familiar as the sunlight to find our favorite rappers sitting courtside at games or our favorite players quoting their lyrics. But their relationship is sustained by tributes (or plain disrespect); rappers pay homage to ballplayers in their songs, which sparks another round of conversations.

Down below are the ten best NBA-inspired lyrics from hip-hop.

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1. Ice Cube, “Today Was A Good Day,” 1992 –

“Get me on the court and I’m trouble.

Last week f—– around and got a triple-double.

Freaking n—– every way like MJ.

I can’t believe today was a good day.”

2. Jay-Z, “Encore,” 2003 –

“As fate would have it, Jay’s status appears.

To be at an all-time high, perfect time to say goodbye.

When I come back like Jordan, wearing the 4-5.

It ain’t to play games with you, it’s to aim at you, probably maim you.”

3. Drake, “Thank Me Now,” 2010 –

“I can relate to kids going straight to the league.

When they recognize that you got what it takes to succeed.

And that’s around the time that your idols become your rivals.

You make friends with Mike but got to ‘A.I.’ him for your survival.”

4. Lil Wayne, “Kobe Bryant,” 2009 –

“Kobe doin’ work, 2–4 on my shirt.

He the greatest on the court and I’m the greatest on the verse.

Going for the fourth ring like it was his first.

Gotta get the bling, do it for Kareem.”

5. Jay-Z, “Pump It Up (Remix),” 2003 –

“Go ahead, bug out, I’ll Raid, n—-, scurry.

Worry, I’m, not, the Mike Jordan of the mic recording.

It’s Hovi, baby, you Kobe, maybe; Tracy McGrady.

Matter-fact, you a Harold Miner.

J.R. Rider, washed up on marijuana.

Even worse, you a Pervis Ellis.

You worthless, fella; you ain’t no athlete, you Shawn Bradley.”

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6. Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part IV,” 2017 –

“Tables turned, lesson learned, my best look.

You jumped sides on me, now you ‘bout to meet Westbrook.

Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you.

Just know the next game played I might slap the s— out you.”

7. J. Cole, “Return of Simba,” 2011 –

Ced said, ‘Look, my n—–, we got a foot in’.

Being good is good, that’ll get you Drew Gooden.

But me, I want Jordan numbers, LeBron footin’.

Can’t guard me, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden.”

8. Jadakiss, “Put Your Hands Up,” 2001 –

“And y’all scared I can tell.

That I’ma get Bucks like Milwaukee, cause like Sam, I ca’ sell.”

9. Kanye West, “New God Flow,” 2012 –

“Went from most hated to the champion god flow.

I guess that’s a feeling only me and LeBron know.”

10. Drake, “0 to 100 / The Catch Up,” 2014 –

“I’ve been Steph Curry with the shot.

Been cooking with the sauce.

Chef Curry with the pot, boy… 360 with the wrist, boy!”