From A Fan To A Player
By Ryan Hollins November 14, 2019
Ryan Hollins talks about how he got into the BIG3 and what it means to be playing again
I watched every game in season one of the BIG3 and the FOMO got real. Seeing my former teammates and brothers out there on the court with thousands of fans watching was amazing. As a hooper, just seeing guys like Gil, Nate, Amar’e, J Moon, Q Rich, Maggette and others back and balling was fun. When I’d watch games I kept putting myself in scenarios thinking about who I’d matchup against, what I’d look like and how I’d do, even though I wasn’t playing.
At the time, Corey Maggette had reached out and told me about the league, but I was trying hard to get back to what would be my 11th season in the NBA. And at the time, I wasn’t wanting to call myself retired. Little did I know, I was never retired and just because I would’ve played in the BIG3 didn’t mean I would’ve been.
I went into broadcasting and on-air production, that’s when I thought I couldn’t play in a professional league again. Never in my life would I have thought I’d be able to do both. But, the BIG3 allowed me to do that.
Seeing Power lift that trophy last season really pushed me to get better. I knew I could’ve been a player for that team as Corey had recruited me the year prior. So it was really the motivating factor for me to workout and get better. Seeing Nancy, Corey and that that group on that historical run was inspiring.
So when I was picked by Aliens, I knew that I needed to prove myself to my team, my peers, family and even broadcast teammates that couldn’t believe I could do it. I worked on my shot, conditioning and strength before the season and I’m still doing that today. Getting to see guys like Rick Mahorn, who I used to watch and who I’ve done radio with, Al Jefferson, a former teammate in Minnesota with me, and a guy like Greg Oden, who is one of the most talented and yet humble players I’ve ever played with, is special.
This place has been a blessing for all of us who’ve decided to play. Every game, I get an adrenaline rush like no other. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. My only drug is the roar of the fans and I truly missed that until BIG3 gave it back to me. Getting back on the court to do what we do and to be able to see old friends and teammates is nostalgic for us as much as it is the fans.
Those connections and bonds we’ve built are back. No one understands the struggle of professional players except for us. So this league has been therapeutic and helped me get through a lot.
I will play in the BIG3 for as long as they will have me. I’m training every day to get better for next season. And to my broadcast friends, I’ll continue to prove you wrong and redefine myself as a player.