Although basketball is a team sport, there are several one-on-one clashes in a game. Michael Jordan is credited with introducing the isolation hoops style to the NBA in the 1980s and 1990s.
hall The famous Tracy McGrady is another player who leaned into this style and was one of the best isolation players of his era. Now T-Mac has taken his best on-court attribute and turned it into One’s Basketball League. A head-to-head league that features some of the best head-to-head players from across the country.
McGrady is funding the project himself for almost $10 million, including $250,000 to the first OBL champion. The League is up and running and held its first weekend of games in Houston last month. The OBL was in New York City over Memorial Day weekend, which seems fitting given NYC’s hoops history.
“I have always invested in the ideas and vision of others” McGrady said. “Not once did I trust mine. I didn’t have the confidence to think mine was good enough. I didn’t trust my ideas or my decision-making when it happened. was about my vision.
If I had to choose a former NBA player to develop an idea like this, McGrady would be one of the few names at the top of the list. His name is up there with players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Jordan when it comes to going iso. And we can’t forget Joe Johnson, aka Iso Joe, either.
McGrady also mentions how his teenage sons helped him think about the idea of the league, as many kids their age don’t watch entire NBA games. They watch highlights, YouTube and other short content. So, it looks like they’ve identified their target audience. The League already has a digital distribution deal with Paramount (owned by Showtime). This allows the Showtime network to use OBL content on its YouTube channel. It is therefore a monumental step in the right direction for this league of start-ups.
Eventually, McGrady would like his league to be included in the NBA All Star weekend festivities. Ultimately, the OBL is about giving players who may have played college basketball but didn’t make it to the NBA or play overseas a chance to show off their talent on a big stage. One thing that will make the league different is the height divisions that McGrady plans to add.
It gives it a boxing/MMA feel as these individual sports have weight classes. No one wants to watch a 6-foot-6 guy back down against smaller players all the time. So, separating players by size should have a positive effect on the aesthetics of games.
Ice Cube’s Big 3 Basketball League has proven that an alternative hoops option can work if packaged properly. T-Mac’s business will be quite different as many of the players involved on the court are not former NBA names. Almost everyone in the Big 3, including the coaches, are former NBA guys. That’s what the Big 3 had on their side from the start.
Luckily for Tracy, it’s targeting a younger demographic, so that part shouldn’t matter much. These kids today don’t really care to watch the players in their 40th birthday they’ve never seen live NBA play ball. So T-Mac might be onto something with the OBL. One of the biggest hurdles will be keeping people’s attention long term. The energy level in the gym seems to have been lifted from the first event in Houston through last weekend in New York. They are still in the early stages, so I’m sure it will continue to improve over time.
This kind of tour has a Big 3/And 1 feel to it. And 1 was successful for a while, but eventually the allure faded. The Big3 seems to have found its place, but will it be in 10 years? I love the idea of another alternative for basketball fans, and hope it’s properly managed and able to grow. There’s not a ton of footage yet, but the league is now live, which it wasn’t when it started. In today’s digital age, this must be a top priority.