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Gary Payton and Lou Williams talk Dew NBA 3X and the evolution of streetball


The NBA’s first U.S. 3×3 Basketball Competition Tour concluded this past weekend at Atlanta’s Gulch. Hoop dreamers and fans alike were able to take this amazing opportunity to watch, meet, and engage with NBA stars such as the legendary Gary Payton aka “The Glove”, Los Angeles point guard Lou Williams, Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, and former Atlanta Hawk’s very own Dominique Wilkins. The tour, powered by Mountain Dew, is part of a six-city tour where preselected men and women compete to qualify for the 2017 USA Basketball 3×3 Tournament. 

Rolling out was able to talk more with Gary Payton and Lou Williams and get their take on the event and the NBA. Check it out below.

Rolling out: Why was it important for you to be involved in the Dew NBA 3X program? 

Gary Payton: When I grew up in Oakland, California, I never had a chance to see all the playground legends and elite amateurs come out and get a chance to be on the next level. So when we do this, that’s what I think about. That’s why they chose me to be an ambassador because I’m with these types of guys. I can get out here with the fan base and all of the guys in the neighborhood and do this. So it was just a great opportunity for everyone.

RO: How has street ball continued to evolve over the years? 

GP: Big! Because that’s all we talk about. I got a street legend in my town called Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell. They did a big documentary on him. So they know how much we have been talking about all these guys that can play on the playgrounds but they never get the opportunity because they mess up or they go to another life. So now, we have the opportunity to make Mountain Dew and NBA create this stuff and let the fans and let the city see it. It’s a dream. That’s what we want to have.

RO: Why was it important for you to be involved in the Dew NBA 3X program? 

Lou Williams: These basketball players out here at the end of this journey, they get a real opportunity to play against NBA type talent. They get an opportunity to try out for the D-league and different things. They came to my city of Atlanta so I had to come out and show some support. 

RO: How has street ball continued to evolve over the years? 

LW: I think guys are getting more and more creative. The game is beginning to be more open and more spaced out. And I think that’s perfect for street ball. 

RO: If you had to rank Atlanta street ball players with street ball players from cities such as New York, Chicago, and LA, what position would they hold? 

LW: I would probably say that the Chicago guys and the New York guys are grittier. I think we play smart. We play together. We’re more of a traditional, fundamental type of basketball. But I think we match up well with other cities.

Story: Kira Demund

Photos: Jamie Thompson