It’s been a long week for NBA fans. When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced last Wednesday that the season was suspended because one of its players had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), shockwaves were sent throughout the league. Other leagues followed suit with their suspensions, while others such as the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tourneys were canceled altogether.
The absence of these events has left the average fan thirsty for sports, but help might soon be on the way thanks to a music legend who had a unique vision of basketball.
Ice Cube creates the Big3 in 2017
Ice Cube, a legendary musician, producer, and actor teamed with entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz in January of 2017 to form a halfcourt basketball league with a 3-on-3 format.
The Big3, made up primarily of former NBA players, introduced the world to the 4-point shot and features a wide-open style of basketball. The league is scheduled to begin its fourth season in June.
The Big3 has a very impressive list of former NBA players who are taking part, or have taken part, since its inception. Former NBA stars such as Allen Iverson, Mike Bibby, Drew Gooden, Josh Smith, Gilbert Arenas are among many former NBA players taking part. The Big3 opened with eight teams in 2017 and expanded to 12 in 2019.
Big3 rules and changes
In 2020, the Big3 changed the ruling on the minimum age of players entering the league. In 2019, the minimum age of a player taking part in the Big3 was 27. This year, the league lowered the minimum age to 22.
Aside from the obvious number of players on the team, one of the more drastic rules differences between the Big3 and the NBA is the 4-point shot. There are three 4-point circles on the court 30 feet from the basket. In order for a successful 4-point shot, the player shooting the ball must have his foot touching any part of one of those three circles.
Aside from the age limit, the Big3 will have rule changes in 2020. The league will be referring to its sport as FIREBALL3
“There are a lot of sports out there that require similar skill sets, like MMA and boxing, football and rugby, baseball and cricket. Our fans let us know that we were playing something extremely unique, FIREBALL3, which is nothing like the typical 3-on-3 FIBA game coming to the Olympics.”
Ice Cube hopes to start a quarantined tournament in April
With the thought the NBA could be on hiatus for at least two months, Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz put their heads together and came up with an idea to bring high-quality basketball back during a time when the country is focused on self-distancing.
The two are hoping to gather a group of quarantined players who tested negative for the coronavirus to play basketball and participate in a reality-style setting that would allow cameras to capture some off-the-court storylines. Players would be quarantined in a large home, provided by the league.
“As long as we can protect the players, which we will do through proper testing and quarantine, Ice Cube and I feel we can give fans some safe, entertaining brand of basketball to get everyone through this pandemic,” Kwatinetz said. “Cube and I have been in the entertainment business for 30 years. This is our job. People want to be entertained with all we’re going through and enjoy our sports. We think this will help.”