The sports world in North America works similar to a calendar. We have the NFL to dominate the fall and early winter months. MLB is all alone as the sport of the summer. The NBA and NHL work through the late fall, entire winter, spring and early summer months. Basketball as a sport is more popular than hockey in the United States. That makes it a difficult process for the true basketball fans to transition away from the season ending. The NBA Championship, draft and free agent process all fly by with a long break before the next season ends.
Current actor and former hip hop star Ice Cube is an avid basketball star and decided it was time to start a secondary league completely separate from the NBA. Big 3 features veterans and former NBA stars competing in 3 on 3 basketball games. The first season of the Big 3 will begin on June 25th shortly after the NBA Finals. It will take place in Barclays Center with a lot of hype. We'll look at all of the reasons why you should be excited and optimistic about the inaugural season of Ice Cube’s Big 3.
15 4 Point Shot
The three-point shot in the NBA is one of the most exciting aspects of the game. Stephen Curry shooting it from beyond the three-point line has made some wonder if the league should ever consider a four-point shot. Big 3 being a new and fun promotion allow them the opportunity to experiment with new ideas. One of those changes will be the introduction of the four-point circle.
There will be a circle on the court very deep from the hoop and further from the three-point range. A player can stand on any part of the circle and the deep shot will be counted as four points. It's a bit of a gimmick but that is needed for a fun project. This will likely be among the most interesting aspects of the Big 3.
14 Cool Uniforms & Team Names
Big 3 have revealed the team names and logos of six teams at this point. The uniforms will look great with merchandise already being sold for some of the teams. 3’s Company, 3 Headed Monsters, Tri-State, Trilogy, Killer 3s and Ghost Ballers are the teams that have been announced so far. Each team currently has two former NBA stars on the roster with a draft coming to form the rest of the teams.
The league definitely needs a visually appealing product to catch the attention of fans giving it a chance. Ice Cube’s team did a tremendous job designing great logos and uniforms for the teams. If fans enjoy the on-court game, the merchandise is impressive enough to sell very well. You also have to enjoy the charm of the “three” team name puns.
13 Only 5 Members Per Roster
One of the more annoying aspects of the NBA for the average fan is remembering all of the players on a team. Twelve members of the roster and players coming in and out frequently make it hard for the new or casual fan to keep track of everyone. Big 3 will only put rosters of five stars on each team. It's designed to keep the top stars on the court for the majority of the game and keep rosters memorable.
The game won’t be stopped often to have substitutions every other dead ball. Big 3’s biggest on-court strength is being able to have the flow of the game with fewer substitutions than what we have become used to in the NBA. For those that get upset about the confusing rotations in the NBA, Big 3 is for you.
12 TV Deal
The early reaction to the Big 3 announcement was laughter and the belief was that nothing would come from it. Everyone expected it to be a side promotion that would be in smaller venues and wouldn’t find its way to television. Ice Cube shocked the world with the recent announcement of a television deal with Fox Sports.
Regular season games will air on Fox Sports 1 during the summer schedule on Monday nights. More importantly, the championship game is scheduled to air on Fox in front of a national television audience. Fox Sports is looking for new content to build their Fox Sports 1 Network around. A successful first season could set Big 3 up for a promising future. The games will also be available with Spanish commentary and the English broadcast will be online to get all eyes on the product.
11 Rare Momentum For A New League
It is extremely difficult for a new league to find relevance and momentum. The NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL are the major team leagues in the United States and nothing of the similar sports have been able to take off. Ice Cube finding the magic to get a television deal and fan interest for a new league is extremely impressive.
There is usually smoke where there is fire and the good vibes for the Big 3’s launch could lead to huge success. The best chance of a new league thriving was Vince McMahon’s project of the XFL back in 2001. McMahon wanted to compete with the NFL. The difference is Ice Cube just wants to add a secondary league for fans of the NBA. There’s no ego in play here to mess with the momentum that is growing.
10 Weekly Games Rather Than Nightly
The best thing going for the NFL is the schedule. Fans love giving one full day of attention to a specific league. Ice Cube is stealing that idea of having all four games take place on the same day. The idea is also meant to keep the players fresh and able to compete every week. NBA veterans find their way out of the league due the aging process making it impossible for them to keep up with the grind.
A lighter schedule will give both the fans and the players the benefit of not over-saturating the market. Everyone will benefit from this and give it a chance to succeed with viewers watching the new product. Many casual fans can’t keep up with the NBA on a nightly basis given the amount of games per season. Big 3 is straying away from that mindset with weekly games.
9 Interesting Coaches
Only three former NBA stars have been named as coaches for the upcoming Big 3 season. All names are very interesting choices that could add to the stories and excitement of the new league. Allen Iverson will be a player and the head coach for 3’s Company.
Charles Oakley was named the head coach of the Killer 3s to lead the players of Chauncey Billups and Stephen Jackson. The name value of Oakley is the most popular it has been in many years following the controversy with the New York Knicks and James Dolan. Julius Erving, Gary Payton, George Gervin, Rick Mahorn, Rick Barry and Clyde Drexler are the remaining coaches that will be slotted to the teams that are still in need of a head coach.
8 Faster & Shorter Games
Ice Cube is hoping to play games at a faster pace and end it rather quickly. The games will be designed to last less than an hour in real time. Big 3 hopes to have four games take place over a time block of four hours. The rules set in place have been designed specifically to ensure the game moves at a fast pace and not stop the clock as often as the NBA does.
Big 3 is debuting in a time when attention spans are not what they used to be. The current generation of viewers would not want to initially commit to a two-three hour game. Ice Cube trying their best to make it a short game based around the offense is the ideal way to get the best out of his veteran stars.
7 No Foul Outs
The smaller roster means some things will have to change from the standard fundamentals of basketball. One huge change is the Big 3 will not foul players out after their sixth personal foul. Instead of foul outs, the opposing team will get a bonus once you commit five team fouls in a half. Following the fifth team foul, the opposing team shoots two free throws and retains possession of the foul.
This hasn’t been said by Ice Cube or any officials, but the belief is the game will not officiated as tightly as the NBA. The whistles will be few and far between unless guys get too physical to force the referee’s hand. Regardless, the lack of foul outs means we'll get to see the stars play in crunch time every game. That is highly underrated when looking at the rules of the Big 3.
6 First Team To Score 60 Wins
The biggest addition to the rules that is drastically different from the NBA and designed to speed up the game is a point limit. Big 3’s team wins will be decided by whoever is first to score 60 points wins. Halftime will take place after one of the teams reaches 30 points. If the teams are struggling to score, there will be a time limit of 30 total minutes with the leading team getting the win.
A team must win by four points to officially end the game. The combination of these rules and the four-point shot makes the end of games an interesting selling point. We'll see the strategy of losing teams shooting from deep to try to make up ground. The winning team will try to pace to 60 points rather than play a slow tempo working the clock to their advantage. It all adds up to an exciting style of play.
5 Ice Cube's Involvement
The track record of Ice Cube speaks for itself. No one would have predicted the most hardcore rapper of his time could go on to become a huge star in family films. Younger people are only familiar with Ice Cube with his acting work. The beginning of his career in the mainstream came with the influential rap group N.W.A.
Ice Cube rebranded his career by delving completely into the acting game. Both worlds have been conquered by Ice Cube and he's looking to try in his other passion of basketball. The basketball genius of his is not to be overlooked. Everything Ice Cube puts his all into becomes a success story. A combination of intellect, vision and passion makes him a great leader for such an experimental project that continues to grow.
The biggest thing the Big 3 will have going for them is the fun. We all love the NBA but it takes itself too seriously at times. The seriousness definitely adds to the intensity of the NBA Playoffs so it does pay off in the long run. However, the inability to have wacky fun at times takes away from the nightly games. Big 3 is predicated around the entertaining aspects of the game.
No one will look at the league as a competitor to the NBA. We'll see competition but the rule changes and marketing is based around the consumer having fun and being entertained. The first event taking place in the NBA venue Barclays Center is a huge get. There’s no way they could have taken the chance on the Big 3 without believing it would provide a unique experience.
3 Summer Content For Hoops Fans
Life is tough for basketball fans once the NBA Playoffs end. The NBA Draft and free agent period both give some entertainment value but they're so short. Big 3 adds something for those of us that don’t enjoy baseball. No one cares about the Summer League games of the NBA. Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups in the Big 3 will provide more value than second round draft picks getting acclimated to the NBA.
The diehard basketball fan has to at least be interested in the prospects of the new league. All Big 3 needs is a chance to prove they have something to offer. At the very least, it gives a true viable league for basketball fans to support in the time period after the NBA season ends and training camp begins.
2 Familiar Faces
The basketball world is different from other sports in the form of the Superstar. NBA stars have more of a profile than NFL and MLB stars due to the focus on the individual performances. We'll see many familiar names playing basketball once again after they were forced out of the NBA. Some of the high profile names are Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Mike Bibby and Latrell Sprewell.
The stylish play of Jason Williams will be showcased. We'll witness the intensity of Kenyon Martin. Gary Payton and Charles Oakley will trash talk as coaches. Ice Cube will likely play a role in the presentation of the games. The biggest issue of starting a new league is the fact that most players are unknown, this is not the case with Big 3.
1 Allen Iverson
One star stands out from the rest in the marketing of the Big 3. The biggest name associated with the on-court aspect of the game is definitely Allen Iverson. Sadly, Iverson’s NBA career ended too early but at his peak, he was as popular as Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal or anyone else dominating the sport. Fans adored the work ethic and entertaining style of Iverson.
Big 3’s set up will make up for the flaws that forced Iverson to leave the NBA. Defense is less of a factor in the three-on-three games and the weekly slate of games prevents the NBA’s grueling schedule. Iverson was always best at the one-on-one style and that will be a benefit here. Fans have the opportunity to watch Iverson play basketball again in an atmosphere that will end his legacy on a better note.