Basketball

Allen Iverson’s absence at Rupp hurts, but Big3 ‘bigger than one man’

3's Company coach Allen Iverson signals to his team during a game against Tri State during in the BIG3 Basketball League in Philadelphia, Pa., Sunday, July 16, 2017.
3's Company coach Allen Iverson signals to his team during a game against Tri State during in the BIG3 Basketball League in Philadelphia, Pa., Sunday, July 16, 2017. AP

Bad things happen. But the show must go on.

That’s how officials of the Big3 League reacted to the one-game suspension of one of their biggest star attractions, Allen Iverson, who was disciplined for what was called “an unexcused absence” from last Sunday’s games in Dallas.

Iverson will not play nor coach nor appear at the league’s stop in Rupp Arena on Sunday.

“Not to dismiss anyone’s disappointment, but we’re a professional sports league …,” said Amy Trask, the CEO of the Big3 League. “This sort of thing happens. Sometimes you show up and your player you want to see does not play.”

Jeff Kwatinetz, one of the founders of the Big3, echoed the sentiment after saying the league had not had a single request from a fan for a refund. Iverson also did not play in the league’s stop in Philadelphia, where he starred for the 76ers.

“I’m a Knicks fan,” Kwatinetz said. “I’m upset 80 percent of the games I go to.”

Rapper Ice Cube, another of the league’s founders, declined to say why Iverson missed last Sunday’s games in Dallas. Ice Cube acknowledged that not showing up hurt the league.

“We talked about holding up the legitimacy the league,” Ice Cube said of a subsequent conversation he had with Iverson. “And he knows him not showing up hurts us.

“Who’s happy to be suspended? Nobody. But he understands it’s a necessary step in the development of Big 3 because we’ve still got some non-believers who don’t believe in what we’re doing and what we want to do in the future. Our league is bigger than one man.”

Rupp Arena officials expect a crowd of between 5,000 and 7,500 for the Big3 games. The crowd at Dallas last Sunday was announced as 15,125, which was the second-largest attendance for the three-on-three league that began play this summer.

League officials said they expect such former UK players as Rex Chapman and Rajon Rondo, plus former Bryan Station High School star Shelvin Mack (now with the Orlando Magic) to attend the games in Rupp Arena. Some current UK players have expressed interest, they said.

A family commitment will prevent UK Coach John Calipari from attending.

Jerry Tipton: 859-231-3227, @JerryTipton

Sunday

Big3 League

What: 3-on-3 professional basketball

When: 2 p.m.

Where: Rupp Arena

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