The BIG3 Is A Basketball Fan’s Dream, And We Are All Just Living In It

Ice Cube’s new three-on-three league is part gimmick, part sport, and part TV show — and it appears to fit in both 1993 and 2020.

Passionate hoops fans who have decided to check out the BIG3 will wonder whether they’re living in a lucid dream. It’s a basketball cosmos that in 2017 is truly far fetched.

Many of the NBA’s best players from the ’90s and 2000s (and, in the case of the coaches, the ’70s and the ’80s) are all-in on the BIG3, which made its fourth stop this past weekend in Philadelphia. They think the 3-on-3 summer basketball league masterminded by the man behind “No Vaseline” is on the come-up.

The BIG3 is equal parts basketball and entertainment, which you would expect considering that Ice Cube is its founder. LL Cool J chills courtside; Michael Rappaport conducts the sideline interviews; and Anthony Hamilton randomly pops up for a halftime performance.

But it’s not just the Hollywood entertainment. The sheer fact that we have basketball legends going out there and playing and coaching their asses off — these guys really want to win — is entertaining, too.

But there are a few cons…

One of the concerns with a league that revolves around past-their-prime players is injuries. In the first week of the BIG3, at Barclays Center, both Jason “White Chocolate” Williams and Corey Maggette suffered injuries. But the league has made some rule changes since then.

Jason Williams is reportedly out 6–8 months after his knee injury. (ESPN.com)

For example, the first-team-to-60 format was modified so that it’s now the first-team-to-50. This sped up the gameplay, and reduced the likelihood of injuries.

The BIG3 is still figuring things out. The league is far from a finished product, and this year will involve a lot of trial-and-error, understandably. But this is a welcome addition to the traditionally dry sports summertime.

Early returns also suggest that the league will have staying power. It drew 10,651 fans in Charlotte following a packed house of 15,177 fans in Brooklyn, and its first broadcast garnered over 400,000 views.

This very well could be the summer league that fans have wanted for years — considering the climate (people are desperate for basketball and the Olympics just added 3-on-3 as an event for 2020), it makes too much sense not to stick around. Like Ice Cube has said, “David Stern should’ve thought of this 30 years ago.”

The players and coaches have also raved about the BIG3’s organization and fan support. It wouldn’t be a shock if more well-known recently retired players (*cough* *cough* Kobe, Paul Pierce, KG, Shaq) to hop on board.

I mean, come on! Look at how sick this could be!

It’s no lucid dream; the BIG3 is really happening. And if basketball fans are lucky, the league will continue happening — and keep getting crazier — for years to come.

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