Basketball's newest league started with a winning basket and an injured former NBA player.
Rashard Lewis made a 3-point play with his team facing game point on Sunday in the opening game of the BIG3, the 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by Ice Cube.
Jason Williams, the flashy point guard nicknamed White Chocolate, went down with a right leg injury late in the game. His 3 Headed Monsters gave up the lead once he went out. They were one point from losing, but Lewis made his basket and free throw to edge the Ghost Ballers 62-60.
Games are played to 60 points, but teams must win by two, and getting to 60 wasn't enough in either of the first two games.
Williams' injury shows the risk of relying on players well past their primes, as his was one of two injuries to occur in the first two games. Corey Maggette had to come out of the second game. Both were expected to be OK.
The game has gimmicks: Lewis made the first four-point play, and teams had 14 seconds to shoot. Team names included 3's Company and Killer 3s, and some players wore nicknames on their jerseys, with Jerome Williams going with "Junk Yard Dog."
DeShawn Stevenson also nailed a game-winning shot, which he followed by running toward the sideline and slapping hands with Ice Cube. Stevenson had a winner, and Cube might, too.
The only thing the rapper-actor's new 3-on-3 basketball league couldn't deliver was the Allen Iverson that fans want to see. Iverson was mostly a spectator -- and he plans to stay that way -- as the league of former NBA players got off to a strong start Sunday, with the first two games decided on winning shots.
Iverson's team won the third game, though the player-coach put himself in for only nine minutes. At 42 years old, the former NBA MVP said he doesn't expect to be playing heavy minutes in the 10-game season.
"I signed up to be a coach, player and captain. Coach part is going to go on throughout the game," Iverson said. "Playing part is not going to be what you expect.
"You're not going to see the Allen Iverson of old out there."
Attendance at Barclays Center was 15,177. Entertainers such as LL Cool J and NBA players such as James Harden were in the crowd for the first two games before Iverson, the main attraction among players, took the court following a concert for the third of four games on the day.
"But I think the best part about this game here tonight and all the other games, it was exciting all throughout," Iverson said. "It didn't need Allen Iverson the player, per se."
"We're excited to be here in the first weekend of the BIG3," said Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, who coached Power to a 62-58 victory over Tri State on Stevenson's 3-pointer in the second game.
"I think it's going to be incredibly good. The games are exciting, the players are still talented, and they're fun to watch."
Cube vowed that the games would be competitive -- players are vying for a revenue share based on final league standings. There was pushing and shoving in the post and a few hard fouls, and the physicality and trash talk appeared to heat up as the games went on. With hand checking allowed, the games looked nothing like today's NBA game.
"Some people like that style, some people don't," Trilogy's Kenyon Martin said. "So we're here to fill that void for the people that appreciate the way the game has been played forever, you know what I'm saying? Basketball is a contact sport."
The eight-team league will play on 10 weekends, culminating with the Aug. 26 championship in Las Vegas. Games will be shown on Monday nights on Fox Sports 1.
3 HEADED MONSTERS 62, GHOST BALLERS 60
The 3 Headed Monsters blew a late lead after Williams went down, and the Ghost Ballers went ahead 60-59 before Lewis scored and drew a foul, making the free throw to finish the game.
Lewis finished with 27 points, and former No. 1 pick Kwame Brown had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the 3 Headed Monsters. Ricky Davis led the Ghost Ballers with 23 points.
POWER 62, TRI STATE 58
Stevenson finished with 20 points for the Power, making five 3-pointers. Maggette scored 15, and Cuttino Mobley had 14.
Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points for Tri State, coached by Hall of Famer Julius Erving. Mike James had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
3'S COMPANY 61, BALL HOGS 51
Iverson finished 1-for-6 with two assists.
Rasual Butler made six 3-pointers and scored 22 points for the Ball Hogs. Derrick Byars chipped in 19.
TRILOGY 60, KILLER 3's 45
Al Harrington scored 25 points as Trilogy cruised in the final game of the day. James White added 16.
Reggie Evans scored 18 and Stephen Jackson 17 for the losers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.