Rap legend and actor Ice Cube is putting his basketball brainchild into action. Ice Cube along with his manager/business partner of 20 years, Jeff Kwatinetz announced the creation of “The Big3” in early January of 2017. The first week of competition begins June 25 and will be broadcast on Fox Sports
As I’m sure you guessed, The Big3 is a 3v3 basketball league. However, it is played in a half court format and there is also a MTV Rock N Jock style 4-point shot. On the court there are three circles past the 3-point line, if a player drains one from any of these circles, their team receives four points as apposed to three. This unique half court style competition will cater to retired NBA players, allowing them to compete without taking a beating, running up and down the court. Also, the league finds some solace in getting back to the grassroots of basketball. Man to man half court “pick up” style games. Although this is definitely far from a “pick up” game. The Big3 has 8 teams, and 10 weeks of scheduled competition. Each team has two captains and five players. All eight teams are considered traveling teams and they will compete on the same day in every venue.
Will the league Succeed? It definitely has the legs. Keep in mind, they are not competing against the NBA. The Big3 is designed to capitalize on the “dead time” between the NBA finals and the beginning of football season. Major league Baseball is in full swing at this point, but admit it, baseball is stale before the All Star break and even then, there is still a large part of the market looking for a legitimized sport to sink their time into. Ice Cube’s The Big3 is definitely legit, at least in regards to the highly notable names involved in the league, with Allen Iverson being the biggest draw. The former 2001 NBA’s “Most Valuable Player” was a hard sell at first, but after some convincing and I’m sure a fat check, A.I. jumped on board. Other big names include Mike Bibby, Chauncey Billups, Steve Francis, Jermaine O’Neal and Kenyon Martin. NBA Legends, Gary Payton and Julius Erving are also coaching in the league.
My take is that showmanship and drama will be crucial to the success of the league. Twitter will obviously be going bananas and other storylines need to develop as the season unfolds. Plus, you just know current NBA players will definitely be chiming in on social media. Surely, with some of the biggest names in recent history competing in front of a large audience, the league is going to draw some attention. Not to mention, talking heads like Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd need content for this stagnant period in sporting news. The more they cover the league, the more marketable it becomes.
A huge motivation for these players to bring their best ability is the incentivized payouts. 52% of all revenues will be rewarded to the teams on top of their agreed upon salary (league minimum 100k), with the largest portion, 30% going to the team that wins the championship. Some of these players are financially stable, but a lot of them are here for the paycheck. Steve Francis comes to mind…
The only way this thing goes to shit is if it turns into a glorified All Star game every week. With guys giving up the lane for uncontested, off the back board alley-oops. Don’t misunderstand, that shit is cool every now and then, but it becomes nauseating when it happens five times a game, a la every NBA All Star game ever. Tune in June 25 on Fox Sports one and decide for yourself if The Big3 will appease your summer sports palate.