Since its inauguration in 2017, the Big3 basketball league has been a sensation all around North America. For the dedicated NBA fan, it’s a way to catch players you watched growing up battle it out in a 3-on-3 frenzy. For the casual basketball fan, it’s another enjoyable game you can watch or attend with your family while you hold out for the upcoming NBA season.
With the league starting after the NBA season is over in July and ending somewhere before it starts in September, Ice Cube’s Big3 league is a perfect format that the NBA should look into buying. Let’s be clear, there are pros and cons to every purchase, especially when it comes to the purchase of a business. However, if done right, the NBA would be the only league in the world to have coverage all year round.
All-Year, Every-Year NBA
The NBA has been expanding its content for fans throughout the past 5-10 years. From the Summer League to the NBA free agency frenzy, the NBA draft, the award show, training camp and an extended season, the NBA is pretty much an all-year sport. Every single month is covered except August. August is usually the time of year where NBA fans are kicking themselves trying to learn the rules of soccer or getting drunk at a baseball game. If the NBA were to somehow lock down an event for that month, it would be GAME OVER. Oh, wait.. there is an event around that time, it’s called The Big3 tournament. The NBA is valued at about $7.5 billion dollars, and I’d imagine adding the Big3 would only add to that value.
A Life After the NBA
On top of that, the purchase would afford the luxury of a life after the NBA for players. Life after playing professional sports usually comes down to finding work in other areas of the sport, whether it be coaching, training or even becoming a media personality. But what if you want to ball for the rest of your life? There’s a flock of ex-NBA players who have gone broke and even bankrupt after retiring. Why not add a bit of security for players who have dedicated their entire life to get into your league, knowing that in the long run, it might just benefit the league as well. The Big3 currently pays their players a salary of $100,000 per season, with additional bonuses based on the team’s performance. Not only would that price go up, but it would surely help maintain the livelihood of NBA players who don’t want to coach, train or have a talk show. The ones who just want to ball.
The NBA Men’s League
The innovative format of the Big3 shows off a half-court game of basketball that’s unparallel to anything else in the world, thanks to Ice Cube introducing a 4-point line. With an official sports association backing the Big3, even the quality of play itself would become better. Imagine a 45-year-old version of Kevin Durant and Steph Curry casually playing 3 on 3. If the NBA were to buy in on the Big3, we would see the talent in the league skyrocket. Not to say that watching Jamario Moon and Reggie Evans, two of my personal favorite players, battle it out in a half-court game isn’t exciting, but adding big names would only just add to the Big3 flame. Even Commissioner Roger Mason Jr. (former Wizards player) told fans his wish list of players whom he’d want to play in the Big3. A list that included the likes of Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan and Tracy McGrady.
The NBA has a lot of rules… and regulations… and guidelines, and even laws it has to follow. For one thing, drugs. Whether recreational or performance-enhancing, drugs are a hot topic in sports and a controversial one. Marijuana is legal in eight states recreationally and over a dozen more medicinally. While Adam Silver has toyed around with the idea of legalizing it, it would still have to deal with a stigma about the whole legalization situation (i.e it would have to regulate it). You try telling Ron Artest he can’t smoke before a game. He was recently on N.O.R.E’s Drink Champs podcast and talked about how Ice Cube’s Big3 tournament gives for a much more relaxed view of basketball. Even outside of the conversation on drugs, the league would want to implement and change the Big3 into their image which brings up my next point.
No Smack Talk
One of the major reasons why fans love the Big3 so much is because of the smack talk. The whole league is full of people who are notorious for talking trash on the court, from Stephen Jackson to Charles Oakley, Metta World Peace, and even Mike James. If the NBA doesn’t let that happen much in their own games, why would they want to taint their image by doing it in their Big3 tournament? They’d have to eliminate the most entertaining part of the league, which would make for a huge drawback.
Things Come and Go, But Cool is Forever
The Big3 is cool right now. Let’s not just move past that quickly. It didn’t do so well in its first season but it averages over 200,000 viewers on TV, not to mention the 10-14,000 fans who watch it live. While the numbers could definitely be better, there is a stigma around the Big3 that if it continues, it could be a tradition in basketball culture. But that’s if the NBA doesn’t buy it. If the league showed some actual interest in purchasing it could negatively affect the way people look at Ice Cube’s tournament. My point is that it’s just a lot cooler of a league when you know Ice Cube is running it a basketball league alongside a former NBA player in Roger Mason Jr. rather than, it be some branch of the NBA with a commissioner who could care less.
Let’s be real, the NBA has had its fair share of bad ideas. From the ‘One & Done’ rule to the Microfiber ball and having a knight as the Nets mascot, the NBA takes some L’s. Buying the Big3 league would not be one of those. But it would mean that the NBA would have to treat the situation carefully in hopes that their main objective is to improve players lives after the retirement. Just imagine how seamless a transition it could be. Players would go from high school to college and from college, to the draft or G-League and hopefully onto Europe and/or the NBA. After spending their career striving for MVP’s & All-Star games, rings, and championships, they can go enjoy a sport they truly love while still enjoying their retirement; a real-life NBA men’s league. It would truly be a beautiful thing in sports if an athlete who put blood, sweat, and tears into the game could play the sport for the rest of their life.