Ice Cube and former NBA players talk the BIG3 league and its impact
"They are setting the standard because they know basketball. They are the best people for the job," Ice Cube said about the female coaches.
Ice Cube launched the BIG3 in 2017, prompting immediate buzz with its 3 on 3 basketball format and star players. Now back after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league is showing no signs of slowing down.
TheGrio spoke exclusively with some of the players as well as the co-founder Ice Cube–born O’Shea Jackson Sr. –to discuss the teams, what goes into a pitch, and what makes the league so successful.
“Raw, Real and Revolutionary” were the words Ice Cube chose when discussing the league. Since its launching, the league has created an atmosphere of expecting the unexpected. From its unique style of play, history-making coaches, and the talent on the court the experience at the games is one of a kind.
The BIG3 league host a large list of former NBA All Stars, Hall of Famers, and retired NBA players that would get any sports fan excited. But what makes this league stand out are the coaches and notably two women, Nancy Lieberman and Lisa Leslie, both of who have each won a BIG3 Championship.
“They are kicking a–. They’re setting the standard and that’s what it’s all about, and it’s not because they are women. They are setting the standard because they know basketball. They are the best people for the job,” Cube shared when reflecting on his championship-winning coaches.
As for the players, there is nothing but respect for their coaches.
“She has helped me more with accountability, holding myself to a higher standard,” seven-time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson reflected on Leslie’s impact as a coach.” Knowing I have to come out, score the ball, play defense, maybe guard the best player on the other team, and rebound. She is always keeping me aware of that.”
“Those things helped me more than she probably knows,” he concluded.
Former NBA player Rashard Lewis shared that the BIG3 is definitely different than the NBA mainly due to it being half-court basketball.
“Half court you almost have to go through somebody. It’s very physical, you don’t get a head-start coming down the floor. We are lined up right there and I won’t let you come around me, you got to go through me,” stated Lewis.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who played nine years in the NBA, shared that he first declined the offer when asked to join the league assuming it would fizzle out. However, after being approached again, he decided to give it a shot.
“I came to Las Vegas, they picked me up as their last pick and here we are four years later,” the now co-captain of the 3 Headed Monsters team shared.
Ice Cube has earned the title as one of the best recruiters and he shared what goes into a successful pitch.
“Energy,” Cube stated. “Bringing energy to the pitch, I would say passion as far as, you know, don’t pitch somebody something that you wouldn’t participate in or buy-in. I’m not into wasting people’s time and I think clarity [is key]. Instead of always trying to talk big, maybe just talk clear and say exactly what you want, [who] you are and what you’re trying to do without putting extras on it. I think those are three key things to a great pitch.”
The award-winning artist said he isn’t one to take no for an answer when it comes to business.
“In business, [it] might have come at a bad time. You might ask the person at a bad time on a bad day when they can’t do it. But if you wait a week and hit them up again, you might have been the answer to something that just popped up.”
Cube stated that he doesn’t have to do as much recruiting as he did when the league first started, but he is thankful for the support and backing of all the players and coaches. The league has now gained partners/sponsorships with Triller, Microsoft, and Taco Bell.
To check out all things BIG 3 visit Big3.com and watch the games on CBS as well as Triller/Fite.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!