The San Antonio Spurs have seen plenty of their former players go on to have success elsewhere, but you might not be aware of what some of the older guys have been up to lately.
In 2017, actor and rapper Ice Cube announced a new 3-on-3 basketball league, Big3, which includes rosters of former NBA players and international talents. It's been growing ever since despite a COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 and is now in its fifth season.
Among the 12 teams currently in the league are several former Spurs participating as both players and coaches. Some of them had championship success in San Antonio while another became a legend in the Alamo City.
As their season winds down toward the playoffs in August, here's a look at what some familiar faces are up to in the Los Angeles-based league.
1. Jeff Ayres (2013-15)
Part of the San Antonio Spurs' 2014 redemption title team, Jeff Ayres logged minutes in 17 postseason games that year, even seeing court time in the final three games of the NBA Finals. He was always an athletic finisher at the rim, and he's now showcasing that as part of Bivouac, coached by Hall of Famer Gary Payton.
Ayers was taken by Bivouac in the 2022 Big3 Draft in May and is now averaging 8.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in the league after averaging 2.9 and 2.7 in the NBA. For context, Big3 games are always played to 50 points. As of Friday, Bivouac has a 2-4 record.
2. Jonathon Simmons (2015-17)
In one of the best underdog stories the NBA has ever seen, Jonathon Simmons once paid $150 for a tryout with the Spurs' D League affiliate, the Austin Toros. Before long, he was playing meaningful minutes as the Spurs made a run to the Western Conference Finals in 2017.
Simmons became a cult hero of sorts in San Antonio with his backstory and impressive highlight plays, and many fans still think of him fondly even though his time was cut short by a lucrative offer from Orlando in 2018.
Simmons now co-captains the 3 Headed Monsters and is averaging 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds through five games played. His team currently leads the league in the standings at 5-1 and is led by former Tennessee Tech star Kevin Murphy and former NBA champion Rashard Lewis.
3. Stephen Jackson
An important player in Spurs history, Stephen Jackson played a critical role in the 2003 season that saw the Spurs clinch their second NBA title. Among other contributions, I most remember his clutch run in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals that year, one in which Dallas was on the verge of forcing a deciding game.
Since retiring after the 2014 season, Jackson has shared mixed feelings about his time with the Spurs on numerous platforms, including his podcast, All the Smoke. He also got back into playing basketball as a player in the Big3 for three seasons until he moved over to coaching in 2021.
Last season, Jackson won it all with Trilogy and is looking for a repeat this season. With a roster captained by a lesser-known Spur, James White, his club is currently 4-2 heading into week seven.
4. George Gervin
This man obviously needs no introduction to you if you're a Spurs fan. George Gervin was the man who put San Antonio on the map in the basketball world and was rewarded with 12 All-Star appearances and a Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Now 70 years old, Iceman is in the midst of a fifth straight season coaching the Ghost Ballers in the Big3. He's yet to make it to a championship game as their head coach, and his roster will need to pick up the pace from their current 3-3 record to give him a real shot.
Gervin's current roster is headlined by former NBA journeyman Ricky Davis and led in scoring by former LA Clipper Mike Taylor, who only played in 51 games on the big stage in 2008-09.
The Big3 Playoffs are set to begin on Saturday, August 6th and will be airing on CBS, YouTube, and Paramount+.