Ice Cube’s vision of 3-on-3 basketball with high level players is finally here. This afternoon at Barclays Center in Brooklyn is tipoff of the inaugural season of the BIG3 basketball league. The league has eight teams featuring some of the greats in the game of basketball; including: coaches Rick Barry, George “Iceman” Gervin, Julius “Dr. J” Irving and player/captain Allen Iverson. The games will be played half-court, and include a 4 point shot. The season will go for 10 weeks and games are played at the best arenas and venues in the country. 4 games per day with fan events, halftime shows, exhibits and after-parties.
Cube and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz are the league’s founders, Roger Mason Jr. is Commissioner and President. Cube and Jeff’s longtime friend, and former CEO of the Oakland Raiders, Amy Trask serves as BIG3 CEO. This group functions as a true team and are extremely collaborative. In my conversations with them, they are poised and confident that the BIG3 will be a tremendous success not just this season but for many years to come. As we’ve written in the past, legitimacy is key for the new league. It certainly has it with star power on the court as well as on the business side. Once the on court product is competitive and fan friendly, sky’s the limit.
BSO had the opportunity to speak directly with Ice Cube and Amy Trask at Friday’s media day and the excitement was palpable. Both see the league as extremely appealing to fans and former players, as well as a long term viable business. They both noted the addition of 3-on-3 basketball to the Summer Olympics going forward, and know they were a huge driving force behind it.
In my interview with CEO Amy Trask we talked about her initial hesitance in joining and what changed her mind, what she’s learned, as well as why gender is not an issue for her. When tested, her response is to “just pass the test.”
Ice Cube is such a huge fan of basketball and this vision truly started from wanting to see more basketball from some of his favorite players. 3-on-3 is a format that everyone plays around the world. In my interview with Cube we talk about the BIG3 as a viable option for players if the NBA isn’t calling, and how a future Olympic 3-on-3 basketball gold medalist could come from the the new league.