Legends Spotlight: Marcus Banks

June 22, 2017

How did you get involved with the Big3 League? It’s kind of a word-of-mouth thing; more of a fraternity for the NBA guys. Being around Stephen Jackson, Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups and guys like that, the word gets around and that’s how you get the idea of what’s going on. Of course you have to do your due diligence after that and go and figure out how you’re going to get involved.

How do you think that a three-on-three basketball league will be received by NBA fans? Especially in the summertime when they’re craving more basketball. I think it’ll be amazing. I think the fans will have pretty much a great time; [this gives] them a chance to see a lot of the guys that they still want to see play. A lot of the guys still have a lot in the tank left. I think it’s going to be really fun to reconnect with the fans and give them the opportunity to be up close and personal, and hear a little bit of the trash talk.

You mentioned that fans will get to see the guys they haven’t seen in a while and the Big3 Combine was in April. Which players were you most impressed by during that combine? It’s basketball; it’s pretty much like riding a bike for these guys because you’ve been doing it all of your life. But I was impressed with the guys that kept themselves in shape. After the career of basketball a lot of guys get stuck in the middle and don’t know what they want to do. You gain a little weight [and] you’ve got the kids running around. But for me, I admire the guys that stayed in shape.

Who were those guys that kept in shape and stood out amongst the rest? Kenyon [Martin] and all those guys are in shape. Stephen Jackson, of course; he’s a monster, he’s in the gym every day. Ricky Davis, Corey Maggette, even Al Harrington. For those guys to still be playing, still be active and have the kind of game and patience; this three-on-three [league] is really going to put guys on the island. So we will see who’s been in the lab and who hasn’t [laughter].

All of those guys you just mentioned were drafted. Were there any players that you were impressed by who didn’t get drafted? I mean there were so many guys. You had Joe Smith, Smush Parker; [Parker] was one of the younger guys but when it comes to three-on-three, you only have so many picks. But he stood out to me because he was one of the young guys that is kind of still playing a little bit and still active. He played pretty well to me, so I was kind of shocked he didn’t get drafted.

You were drafted by the Ghost Ballers with the 9th overall pick. Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis are the team captains. What’s the team dynamic at this point? Have you guys started practicing at all? We’ve been talking a little bit. Of course me and Ricky played a lot together and over the last year, me and Mike have been playing together a little bit. Mike, he’s going to be stationary, do some spot-up shooting and he’ll lead with his veteran leadership style. We’ve got a couple other young guys in Ivan Johnson, and of course we have Mo Evans. At the end of the day for him and Ricky, for those guys to be the two and three [guards], we’re going to be picking-and-rolling [laughter] and spreading that thing out going one-on-one. This is the fun part now.

The head man for your team will be the “Iceman” George Gervin. There will be other legendary basketball players that serve as head coaches in the Big3 League. Are there any legends in this league that you idolized growing up or that you can’t wait to meet? All of them! Just being in those guys’ presence is a great thing; having those Hall of Famers. For us to just be around those guys and enjoy their company and get a chance to have some knowledge of the game spilled down that those guys experienced in their time playing, I think that’s what it’s really all about. It’s like what I said earlier about this being a big fraternity.

You were considered a bit of a “journeyman” in the league, playing with a couple different teams and overseas. Do you feel like you have something to prove by playing in the Big3 League? Nah, it’s basketball. Like I said, I play basketball. I’ll go over the sun, under the moon [laughter], anyway to play this game. So as far as being a journeyman, at the end of the day you know it’s every player that would love to be in that position. I know a lot of guys that don’t get a chance to see the things that guys like myself and other guys that have from playing on a number of teams. I think it’s a pretty good situation.

The Big3 League Championship game is going to be in Las Vegas this year. I know this is looking down the line, but what would it mean for you to play in front of your hometown? Um, nothing [laughter]. It’s basketball; you line ‘em up, you knock ‘em down. It’s something that I have been doing for a long time, and it doesn’t change no matter where you play it at. The ball is still round, the hoop is still ten feet, if I can remember it’s still the same [laughter]. At the end of the day, the three-point line is still the same. But you know they added a 4-point shot, so that will be really fun [laughter].

Switching gears from the Big3 to the National Basketball Retired Players Association: you’re one of our newer members, so we wanted to welcome you! What was it about the NBRPA that made you want to join? Mainly just trying to get a handle on exactly what I’m trying to do, you know what I mean, when I grow up [laughter]. Basketball pretty much blanketed me for so long the last fifteen years; that’s pretty much all guys know when they finished. But there comes a time when you have to grow up and become a man and you want to figure out the next steps in life. I’m trying to give back as much as possible and start to give back to the game. I can offer mentorship to any of the younger guys coming into the league as far as what you have to do, when you have to do it. Playing fifteen years, it gives me an opportunity to see different things and it’s good to give back to the guys coming in so they have a much easier path because growing up, I didn’t get too much of that. Why not give back?

That’s great! I read that you participated in the first NBRPA Broadcast Boot Camp in 2016 and you have some experience with NBA TV in Qatar. What is it about the broadcast industry that make you want to pursue it? I just like spreading the knowledge of the game. It’s not so much the broadcasting part. I’ve been a student of the game for so long, played behind a lot of great point guards and was able to watch the game from a different perspective. It’s kind of like a coach’s perspective on the bench to learn different things like that. Now commentating and broadcasting has always been something that I’ve like doing no matter what; it was solid.

Can you speak to how has the NBRPA helped you in broadcasting and coaching? They just pretty much make it very easy and very reachable for the players. They give you all of the information and they’re very helpful. They explain everything and make it easy for the guys who are transitioning to what they’re actually trying to do after basketball. If you would just take the time to make a phone call here or there or read over an email, I think it’s in perfect black and white. I actually hope and wish that a lot more players get involved with the [Retired] Players Association and things like that because they definitely make life easier.