Ex-NBA players Lamar Odom, Baron Davis, Jermaine O'Neal and Bonzi Wells have been "deactivated" from the Big3 basketball league for the remainder of the 2019 season, the league announced Wednesday.
No specific reason for their deactivation was given, though the league said in a news release that the changes were implemented to "maximize competition, protect the health of players, and to raise the level of professionalism" of the 3-on-3 league, which was co-founded by Ice Cube in 2017.
"As the premier professional 3-on-3 league in the world, we are always striving to improve the quality of both the live and broadcast experience for our fans as well as the level of competition," the release reads. "In addition, the smooth running of our internal organization, while in great shape for a young third-year league, needs to be improved and ongoing changes will continue to be implemented and finalized by next Monday."
Lamar Odom looks on during a Big 3 game. (Photo: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)
Odom, a two-time NBA champion, was attempting to rejuvenate his basketball career following the 2015 incident in which he was found unresponsive after a near-fatal overdose. He made his return to the basketball court in January with a team in the Philippines. This was his first year in the Big 3.
In an April Instagram post, Odom, 39, wrote, "The reason i am making a comeback to basketball is because I REFUSE to listen to my fears but instead follow my heart. My heart, telling me that I have to play basketball one more time to show people that you can OVERCOME addiction and LIVE a happy life enjoying the little things."
ESPN, citing sources, reported that Odom, O'Neal, Wells and Davis were deactivated for competitive reasons and not due to off-the-court issues, and that Odom was not "up to it from a competitive standpoint."
Another ex-NBA player, Glen Davis, was fined "significantly" by the Big3 for "behavior detrimental to the league." During a game over the weekend, Davis stripped down and threw his uniform into the crowd after being ejected.
The league, which broadcasts its games live on CBS and CBS Sports, began its season last month. It features dozens of ex-NBA players, including seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson, six-time All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire and three-time All-Star Gilbert Arenas.
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