After shaping the culture as a Black film auteur and Hip-Hop legend, Ice Cube expanded his empire with the BIG3–a steadily growing 3-on-3 basketball league with former NBA stars like Joe Johnson, Hall of Fame players-turned-coaches like Lisa Leslie and a unique style of “Fireball.”
Fireball features a 4-point shot, 14-Second shot clock and crowd-pleasing “Bring The Fire” showdown that allows each team, once per half, to challenge a foul call with a one-possession one-on-one showdown during games where the first team to 50 wins.
“We’ve needed the freedom to keep innovating without potential new fans thinking it was typical 3-on-3. Plus, we didn’t want our deep love and respect for the NBA to be misinterpreted by our use of different rules,” said Cube, who co-founded the league with entertainment exec Jeff Kwatinetz.
“We could never compete with the NBA any more than we could compete with the NFL or FIFA. We are the BIG3, our own unique thing. But that doesn’t mean FIREBALL3 can’t coexist with these sports and still be many fans’ favorite sport.”
“We’re going to keep growing, keep building and keep putting the best athletes on the court. We hope that one day FIREBALL3 will be an Olympic sport too,” he added.
Gary Payton, Lisa Leslie, and Julius Erving headline an impressive collection of coaches with beloved Dream Teamer Clyde Drexler serving as Commissioner.
We caught up with Cube during the Week 2 slate of games in Vegas (after MaskYe popped up at a game) where we asked where building the BIG3 into a global brand ranked on his enviable list of accomplishments.
“Doing music, I grew up with Dr. Dre living down the street and, I’m not saying that was easy, but I was in a position really to be right there,” Cube recalled.
And, in movies, John Singleton just saw me one day and said ‘hey I wanna put you in a movie’ so that career took off with being discovered. This is something we had to conceive from scratch with all kinds of people telling us we were crazy…”
Watch his full answer below:
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