Kendall Gill’s road to Ice Cube’s BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league had a bumpy start.
The fifteen-year NBA veteran turned Comcast Sportsnet Chicago Analyst felt good after he left the BIG3 Draft Combine this past April but that all changed as he watched his name go uncalled in the inaugural draft.
“I had fun and I played great and then when my name wasn’t called, I tell ya, that was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had,” Gill said. “I worked my butt off and I felt I came and did what I was supposed to do and unfortunately I wasn’t drafted but you know, that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes in life.”
Created to show that there is basketball life after the NBA, the league features some of our favorite ex-NBA hoopers like Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Charles Oakley and Julius “Dr. J” Erving just to name a few.
With the new league set to kick off without the Chicago native, Gill had to be patient for his opportunity to show and prove that he still had some gas left in the tank.
“Life is not fair all the time. You have to play the cards you are dealt and that’s what I did so I waited, I kept my fingers crossed and the call came.”
The call was from team Power Head Coach and NBA Hall Of Famer Clyde Drexler, one of Kendall’s childhood heroes, letting him know that they wanted him to replace Corey Maggette who went down with a leg injury in the BIG3’s opening week.
12 years after his last game as an NBA player, Gill was set to make his return to the world of professional basketball as the oldest player in the BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league. I sat down with the former “Flying Illini” and chopped it up about how he prepared for this moment and what was in store for him as he made his return to the hardwood. Peep the Q & A below as we get set to jump off Week 5 of the BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league.
“I felt like I was in the Hot Tub Time Machine. I felt like I was back in the NBA.”
TTom: It’s been 12 years since you’ve played competitive basketball, how did you feel last week in Philly as you made your debut with team Power?
Gill: Man it was great. I was telling my wife that when I was in Philly last weekend that I felt like I was in the Hot Tub Time Machine. I felt like I was back in the NBA. It was first class all the way. From the hotel accommodations, to the production, to the competition. It just seemed like this was where I was 12 years ago and the first thing I noticed was that the guys were competing. This is no joke. Guys are coming out there giving 100%. Its not like guys are just showing up to play 3-on-3, they’re trying to win and that’s exactly what I wanted to be involved in.