Las Vegas product Marcus Banks shoots for title in Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 hoops league


Associated Press

Ghost Ballers guard Marcus Banks drives to the basket during a Big 3 basketball game against Trilogy at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. (associated press)

Sun, Aug 13, 2017 (2 a.m.)


• Three circles 30 feet from the basket count as 4-point shot areas in addition to traditional 2- and 3-point shots.

• Fouls result in one free-throw attempt worth the same amount of points as where the shot took place. For 3- and 4-point shots, the attempt is made from the 3-point line or the 4-point circle.


• Teams must navigate a 14-second shot clock, 10 seconds less than the NBA’s standard 24-second shot clock.


• Teams must clear a defensive rebound by getting behind the 3-point line with both feet before they can attempt a shot. The rule does not apply to any steal or shot that doesn’t hit the rim.


• Games are contested half-court, with the first team to score 50 points with at least a 2-point advantage winning.

• Games are split into two halves, with halftime commencing when one team reaches 25 points.


• Allen Iverson, 3’s Company player/coach

• Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Tri State coach

• George Gervin, Ghost Ballers coach

• Gary Payton, 3-Headed Monsters coach

• Kenyon Martin, Trilogy player

After his NBA career ended, former UNLV and Cimarron-Memorial High basketball star Marcus Banks spent five years playing in the NBA’s developmental league and overseas.

But the 35-year-old is now stateside and excited to be competing with fellow NBA veterans. Banks plays for the Ghost Ballers in the inaugural season of the Big 3, a 3-on-3 league with pickup basketball rules founded by rapper/actor Ice Cube.

The Ghost Ballers are one of eight teams vying for four spots in the league’s championship event, which takes place at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The two winning teams from a semifinal round in Seattle will play for the title, with the losers squaring off in a third-place game.

Banks isn’t ready to call it a career just yet, but he does have an eye on a future that could include a return to UNLV.

How does it feel to be in a league full of NBA players again, and for there to be a Las Vegas connection?

It’s amazing that Ice Cube is giving players a way to continue the game and let them finish the game, and still have the same showmanship. Playing in front of 15,000-18,000 fans and being completely done with the NBA, where else in the world can you get that? This is sort of everyone’s farewell tour, and this is the right way to do a farewell tour.

What’s your relationship like with UNLV basketball?

I work out at UNLV in the summertime, so I see those guys all the time. I haven’t gotten a chance to get as involved with UNLV as I want because I am still playing. I’ve sat down with (coach) Marvin Menzies a couple of times and, of course, he said his door is always open and whatever you need, come by. He said make sure that you’re completely done playing.

I’m still straddling the fence a little bit, because I keep myself in great shape, so I’m able to push the envelope as far as playing longer. I’m 35, but I feel 25. I don’t want to step away and later regret it, wishing I had played two or three more years. I finish school in May. Coach Menzies and the staff helped me get my situation together for future preparation. So, when I do decide, or I sit down with coach Menzies and talk about me coming back to coach, I’ll be completely ready.

What’s it like playing in the same league as former UNLV teammate Louis Amundson, who also went on to have a long NBA and professional career?

When I was here, I was a junior and he was a freshman. So, you sort of take the guys around and introduce them to things, and he was a young guy full of energy. You don’t know where basketball is going to take you. Louis Amundson has made a great career for himself. It’s always good to meet and come full circle with one of your colleagues.

Your player/coach on the Ghost Ballers, Mike Bibby, recently graduated from UNLV. How has it been playing with him?

We have really gotten close over the past three months. He’s the captain of the team, and he’s taken me under his wing, showing me the ropes. He’s seen a little bit more than me along the way, and from what he accomplished in the league, I look up to him.

With the Big 3, the NBA Summer League and other events in Las Vegas, do you see an NBA team coming anytime soon?

If the turnout will be what they need it to be. Bringing an NBA team here, they’re going to play at least two games a week in the city, so your marketing has to be on point. You need to have a great group of guys on the team. I’m from here, so I look at the Strip and I’m like, “It’s too hot out there, and I’d rather keep my money in my pockets.” But when you get a guy, the country type, where there’s nothing but trees, and you come to where the lights are flashing and you can stay up as late as you want and do anything you want, it’s a different kind of temptation. But I think you have to bring a team here.

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