Earlier today at the Sheraton Times Square hotel in NYC, Allen Iverson and former NBA players were part of a press conference, announcing the BIG 3 professional basketball league. The league is the brainchild of rapper, actor, and entertainer extraordinaire Ice Cube, and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz.
Cube and Kwatinetz have collaborated together in the entertainment field and wanted to develop a project based around their mutual love for basketball. The two men decided to create a professional basketball league with former NBA stars and players they felt still had a desire to play at a high level. Speaking at this morning’s press conference Ice Cube said:
It’s [not fun] to see your favorite players retire. Especially when you know they still got game. My father always told me, ‘if you don’t think big, you’ll always be small.’ So, we came up with a big idea to bring a style of basketball to the people that I grew up playing and watching. Three on three basketball.
Kwatinetz echoed Cubes statements, and added:
Three on three basketball is the most played sport in the world. It is a beloved form of basketball that really highlights a player’s skills and abilities.
This is no fly by night pick up game league. Cube and Kwatinetz spent a year and a half researching consumer demand for basketball and have spent countless sessions with former players, coaches and officials on the viability of another professional basketball league. The result is the BIG 3.
The league already boasts some big names familiar to NBA fans, who were present at today’s press conference including player/coach Iverson, Kenyon Martin, and Rashard Lewis. Additional players that have committed include: Chauncey Billups, Jason Williams, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, and Gary Payton.
The press conference had the typical “debut announcement” level excitement and Cube and Kwatinetz are committed to making the league work. For their part the players too were excited, sharing good natured jokes and discussing how much they are looking forward to competing.
Cube and Kwatinetz, were adamant about the fact that the BIG 3 is not here to compete with the NBA. This is a league with retired players that want to lace it up once per week and compete in a high level, three on three half-court games with their peers.
Kwatinetz was coy about the platforms the league’s games will be broadcasted on but said, “We want to be the most connected league, while maximizing revenue and the player and fan experience.” He also added the games will be televised and they are in negotiations with networks.
Besides the ticket revenue, the distribution platforms are where the league has a real opportunity to capitalize. They could partner with the NBA and its network; they could opt for the traditional cable or network route. Then there is also the possibility of partnering with a subscription streaming service. If managed correctly it would allow the league to flourish and give it a lengthy shelf life. How great would it be, knowing that after guys like Bron and KD retire from the NBA, you could still see them battle it out in a three on three league?
This is a great opportunity for these former NBA guys to keep their competitive juices flowing and also give people in their lives who have never seen them play, a chance to see they can still play. During the press conference Rashard Lewis joked, his daughter keeps asking him to show her that he can play and he’s excited that he now can.
Former NBA player and Deputy Executive Director of the Players Association, Roger Mason Jr., will serve as the Commissioner and league President. The league will be composed of eight teams, five players each, one head coach and one assistant coach. All coaches will be former NBA players.
The regular season will begin on June 24th and end on August 12th. Playoff games will be August 19th and 26th. Teams will play one game per week on Saturday with all four games taking place in the same venue on the same day. The BIG 3 will also introduce the 4-point shot via three 4-point circles beyond the 3-point line.