The summer has always been considered a down time in the sports calendar due to the lack of noteworthy sporting events outside of baseball. But Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz may have “The Answer” in the form of a new basketball league.
The duo announced Wednesday (Jan. 11) the formation of the BIG3, a three-on-three league that will feature former NBA players like Allen Iverson, Kenyon Martin, Rashard Lewis, Chauncey Billups, Jason Williams, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal and Mike Bibby.
“The BIG3 was created as the ultimate basketball fan experience,” Cube said in a press release. “We’re bringing some of the baddest names to ever play the game, and giving them a platform to not only showcase their skills, but to entertain their fans in a high-energy, physical and competitive environment. As a diehard basketball fan, I personally can’t wait to see my favorite players back in action.”
The league is made up of eight teams of five players, one coach and one assistant coach. Gary Payton and George Gervin have signed up as coaches, and Iverson will function as a player-coach. Each team will also have a player captain tasked with making personnel decisions. Simply put, the players will run the show.
“The BIG3 puts a special emphasis on the players, and they are an integral part of its function,” Roger Mason Jr., former NBA player and league commissioner, said. “From the coaching, to the team selection and the games themselves – the league is player powered. We’re excited for the players to have such an active role in the BIG3 and look forward to a successful partnership.”
The games will be played under a unique set of rules, adding more intrigue to the nostalgia-inducing tournament. Each game will be a race to 60 points, as the first team to reach the mark will be declared the winner. The court will also feature three circles beyond the 3-point line where players can earn four points for any made shot while touching any part of the circle. And to spice things up even more, players will receive 52 percent of the generated revenue. That revenue will then be split among the teams based on the final standings to encourage maximum effort and competitiveness.
Regular season games will take place every Saturday from June 24 to Aug. 12, then the playoffs begin on Aug. 19 and conclude on Aug. 26.
The schedule allows for the league to operate as a traveling showcase, giving fans in different cities an opportunity to watch their favorite players in action once again. But in addition to the action on the court, organizers have promised individualized introductions, halftime performances, fan interaction and multiple exhibits to create an experience reminiscent of the Final Four or the All-Star Game.
Information regarding team names, cities and arenas and television coverage has not been announced, but is expected in the near future.
What do you think of the idea? And what players would you like to see this year or in the future? Let us know in the comment section.
Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images