The BIG3 has the chance to be one of the most innovative changes in basketball in a long time. A new 3-on-3 professional basketball league that’ll have a four-point shot, hand checking, and other added rules, is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the fact that they have a star-studded cast of former NBA players like Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Allen Iverson, Ricky Davis, Corey Maggette, Kenyon Martin, and others.
If that isn’t enough, look at the incredible list of coaches and you’ll be drooling for the action once these blowout-heavy playoffs are over.
While the league is set to tip-off next month, we figured we’d sit down with none other than the co-founder himself, Ice Cube. The well-known hip-hop icon, actor, and record producer spoke to DIME to discuss the BIG3, Big Baller Brand, his L.A. Lakers, and much more.
How did this whole idea (of the Big3) come about? Take me through the process and how it came to be.
It’s been a dream of mine for a long time. It’s been something that’s always been in the back of my mind but never really came up. I always wondered why 3-on-3 wasn’t done on the professional level, but I wasn’t really ready to do nothing about it. At the same time, Jeff (Kwatinetz) and Roger (Mason Jr.) had talked about maybe doing some one-on-one or even 3-on-3 stuff with current players. But, that just never came to be.
Then, I saw Kobe score 60 points in his last game and I’m like ‘ain’t no way in the world somebody scoring 60 points should be retiring from the game.’ But, that’s how this all came to be. I started thinking about the wear and tear on players bodies and that’s when that 3-on-3 came back up to mind. So I ran it by Jeff and we started just building on what it could be, what the rules could be, and how we could pull it off. Then, once we got to a certain spot, we brought in Roger Mason Jr. and when he said he was down to be our commissioner that’s when we knew we had something, a great idea.
Now, I spoke to Jeff and he mentioned you guys spent tons of hours on just chatting about the rules, organization, and layout of this league. Were there a few times that you could recall where the decision-making process became difficult?
It took a few months to get everything right. I actually remember being on vacation in Maui [laughs] arguing about certain rules. I think we were talking about clearing the ball and where we should have the teams clear the ball to, when, and whether it should be cleared to the free throw line or three-point line. See most 3-on-3 goes 15 feet, which is the free throw line, but because we had pros and possibly seven footers out there that it was better to go past the three-point line. That was just one of the times I can remember us going back-and-forth on certain things. Man, I remember my wife was [chuckles] rolling her eyes in Maui cause I was on the phone arguing with Jeff about the rules.