What We Know About Ice Cube’s 3-On-3 Basketball League

To his credit, Ice Cube has done a decent job pulling all of the logistics together for his ‘BIG3’ basketball league to start play on June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.   It’s tough to penetrate the mainstream sports media’s definition of ‘serious sport’ meaning that the BIG3 still has an uphill battle for acceptance and media coverage.  For now, Ice Cube is using his own celebrity cachet to help spread the word about his new project.

So what is the BIG3?  It’s a 3-on-3 basketball league featuring former NBA players.  BIG3 has a lot going for it—big name athletes, decent media coverage and a TV deal with Fox Sports.  After releasing details gradually over the past few months they’ve got teams, players, coaches, venues and a schedule.  All they need now is (hopefully) fans in the seats and eyeballs watching them on TV.


The BIG3 league will be a ‘touring league’ featuring 8 teams of five players each.  The league will play an 8 week ‘regular season’ to set up a Week 9 playoffs and Week 10 championships.  The rules are designed to facilitate ‘competition and intensity’ via 3-on-3 half court play according to BIG3 press materials.  Based on the graphics on the BIG3 website, the teams will compete on a court that looks about the same size as a comedy club stage with the crowd right up close to the action.  They emphasize the ‘intimacy’ of the fan experience but the format also allows them to cut the seating area down significantly.  This should eliminate the awful visual of unknown teams playing in front of thousands of empty seats.  If the league takes off as hoped it will be easy to expand the seating to allow for more spectators.

The league website  explains ‘The Concept’ of the BIG3:

The BIG3 is the American 3-on-3 professional basketball league. Combining superstar players and fan interaction before and after the games make this an exciting live experience. The entire league is operated and managed by the players. No outsiders. No politics. Just highly competitive basketball played as it’s meant to be.

The league has released the following team names:

  • 3’s Company
  • Killer 3s
  • Tri-State
  • 3 Headed Monsters
  • Trilogy
  • Ghost Ballers
  • Power
  • Ball Hogs

They did a nice job on the logos–they’re really cool and have been getting a lot of love from the media  ever since they were unveiled.  If nothing else, the league could make a ton of money on merchandising if they do it right.  There are big names attached to the project—Allen Iverson, Jermaine O’Neal, Mike Bibby, Chauncey Billups, Clyde Drexler, Charles Oakley, Gary Payton,  George Gervin, Rick Mahorn, Ricky Barry and Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving among others.  Actually, you can scratch one of those names—Ice Cube has announced that Chauncey Billups is out since he’s taking a front office gig with the Cleveland Cavaliers.


The league has released a full season schedule complete with venues as follows:

WEEK 1 | June 25: Barclays Center | Brooklyn, NY

WEEK 2 | July 2: Spectrum Center | Charlotte, NC

WEEK 3 | July 9: BOK Center | Tulsa, OK

WEEK 4 | July 16: Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA

WEEK 5 | July 23: UIC PAVILION | Chicago, IL

WEEK 6 | July 30: American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX

WEEK 7 | August 6: Rupp Arena | Lexington, KY

WEEK 8 | August 13: Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

WEEK 9 | August 20: Key Arena | Seattle, WA (Playoffs)

WEEK 10 | August 26: T-Mobile Arena | Las Vegas, NV (Championship)

Each team has a captain and a co-captain heading a five player roster with a coach on the sidelines calling the shots.  These positions were filled at a draft held in April.  They’ve definitely got an impressive list of  players and an innovative concept but there’s plenty of questions that remain.  With no clue about team cohesion, gameplay, and the long term viability of the league it’s not easy to set odds or handicap what will happen on the court or off.

The most crucial element now is the league’s appeal to the fans.  If they fans fill seats and watch the BIG3 on TV it definitely has the potential for success.  It could be a fun, entertaining and competitive novelty for the basketball offseason.  On the other hand, it could combine the worst elements of celebrity boxing and Vince McMahon’s ill-fated XFL which also started with some interesting ideas, a TV deal and cool team logos.  That all remains to be seen but in the meantime SPORTS BETTING EXPERTS offers these betting odds on the BIG3 basketball league’s performance on and off the court:


Team to win the BIG3 3-on-3 Basketball Championship?

3’s Company (Allen Iverson): +350

Killer 3’s (???): +350

Tri-State (Jermaine O’Neal): +600

3 Headed Monsters  (Rashard Lewis): +600

Trilogy (Kenyon Martin): +700

Ghost Ballers (Mike Bibby): +700

Power (Corey Maggette): +850

Ball Hogs (Brian Scalabrine): +850

Will the BIG3 season start on June 25 as scheduled?

Yes: -350

No: +300

Will the BIG3 complete a full season as scheduled?

Yes: -170

No: +150

Will all eight BIG3 teams complete the season?

Yes: -150

No: +130

Will the BIG3 average live attendance capacity percentage exceed that of the XFL?

Yes—Over 44.1%: -350

No—Under 44.1%: +300

Will the BIG3 opening week TV rating exceed the XFL opening game TV rating?

Yes—Over 9.5: +250

No—Under 9.5: -300

Will any BIG3 weekly TV rating exceed the XFL opening game TV rating?

Yes—Over 9.5: +105

No—Under 9.5: -125

Will the BIG3 Week 2 TV rating exceed the XFL Week 2 TV rating?

Yes—Over 4.6: -150

No—Under 4.6: +130

Will any BIG3 weekly TV rating exceed the XFL’s worst weekly TV rating?

Yes—Over 1.5: -450

No—Under 1.5: +370


Article Courtesy Of Jim Murphy of sportsbettingexperts.com