Last summer when I wrote about the inaugural season of the Big3, the consensus of players and the league management was that if they proved this thing was real, the second season would see bigger names come on board. Build it and they will come.
“In a lot of ways, it was definitely a ‘show me’ year,” Ice Cube told NBC Sports last summer. “Some people actually told us they would wait to see how we did this year before they would want to be a part of it. We knew trying to introduce something this new would have people kind of taking a wait-and-see approach.”
Now big names are jumping in, and the latest is former Sun and Knick Amar’e Stoudemire, who will be the three-way co-captain of Tri-State alongside Jermaine O’Neal and Nate Robinson, the league announced Wednesday.
Robinson is one of the other big names to jump in, along with Baron Davis, Ron Artest, Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, Carlos Boozer and Drew Gooden. Even Greg Oden is going to make a run at it.
The Big3 is a barnstorming tour hitting one city a week with former NBA players going 3-on-3 in half-court. The refs let the game get more physical than the NBA, there are some gimmicks (the four-point shot spot) but the product was good. With an off-season to refine it and the broadcast, it should come back as an entertaining package. It’s a good fix for hoops junkies in the off-season, and Stoudemire and the star power just add to that.
NEW YORK (AP) — Former No. 1 NBA draft pick Greg Oden will attempt a comeback this summer in the Big3.
The 3-on-3 league says Monday that Oden will be part of this year’s draft pool and take part in the draft combine.
Oden was picked first in 2007 by Portland, which selected him over Kevin Durant. But the 7-footer battled injuries throughout his career and played in just 105 games, averaging 8.0 points. His last NBA season was in 2013-14 with Miami.
The league of former NBA players co-founded by entertainer Ice Cube completed its first season last year. The players who were not on the championship team or are captains or co-captains of teams in the eight-team league will be part of the draft pool.
Big3 co-founder Ice Cube knew it was going to take a year or two to get bigger names to play on his summer circuit.
“In a lot of ways, (last season) was definitely a ‘show me’ year,” Ice Cube told NBC Sports. “Some (players) actually told us they would wait to see how we did this year before they would want to be a part of it. We knew trying to introduce something this new would have people kind of taking a wait-and-see approach.”
Cube seems to be prescient — players are coming.
Metta World Peace will play next season — under his old name Ron Artest — the league announced Monday, as the co-captain of Stephen Jackson’s Killer 3’s. This NBA season World Peace is working as a player development coach for the Lakers’ G-League team.
Also, Allen Iverson will return for his second season as a Big3 coach and possibly spot player.
A lot of people checked out the Big3 in person and on Fox Sports 1 last season, but as much out of curiosity as anything. Like the NBA, the Big3 needs star power to sell, and the ownership of the league understands that. They are on the recruiting trail, and former players of the league expect it to work.
“People were trying to see if this was a joke or how serious it is, but now the retired players are seeing this game and they’re excited about what is taking place,” 11-year NBA veteran Mike James said last season. “So from this year to next year, you’re going to see more familiar names playing in this league, you’ll see more ex-superstars that played the game. And then you’ve got guys on their last leg in the NBA, they got something to look forward to.”
That’s what Ice Cube and the backers of the Big3 are counting on.
Ice Cube’s Big3 had a promising rookie season and looked like a league that could have staying power. It even found one of its guys with an NBA contract.
The Champions League never got off the ground this summer.
The founders of the Champions League sued Cube and the Big3 for $250 million claiming they stole ideas and players. Did anyone think Cube and the Big3 would not come back hard at that? They did last week with a countersuit claiming defamation. TMZ has the details.
In docs, filed by Mark Geragos, BIG3 says the Champions League posted a statement on its website that was a bald-faced lie. The CL said, “The issue is that Big3 violated the agreement that players would be able to play in both leagues even though all the players had prior agreements with the Champions League.”
BIG3 says there was NEVER any agreement between the 2 leagues and no BIG3 player was barred from honoring commitments to the Champions League. BIG3 goes as far as saying that 3 players who DID have a deal with CL were specifically allowed to play for Champions.
What’s more … BIG3 says the head of the Champions League is “a serial con-artist, fraudster and ponzi-schemer” who blames his failures on others.
Well, that’s direct. Not pulling their punches, are they?
The onus falls on the Champions League to prove its allegations, and that will be challenging. More than likely this all gets tossed at some point.
What I expect will happen is we will see next summer is a bigger and better Big3 with a few more big names attached. This case will be long forgotten.
The Big3 just finished its first season, and it drew some big names to coach and play (Allen Iverson, Dr. J), good crowds (about 11,000 a day), and the television ratings were successful enough that Fox renewed for a second season. For Ice Cube’s League it was a good year.
Now he and the Big3 are being sued by the Champions League for allegedly stealing ideas and players. The New York Post has the story.
Ice Cube was slapped with a $250 million lawsuit on Friday for supposedly poaching hoops stars — and proprietary ideas — from the newly formed Champion Basketball League…
CBL’s founder, Carl George, says the legendary rapper and actor, whose real name is O’Shea Jackson, and BIG3’s co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, got close to CBL brass and players only to steal their ideas and goods after their 2014 launch….
The suit claims that “when certain players expressed their desire to participate in the CBL games, Mr. Cube confronted the players personally about playing in the CBL and threatened the players that they would be fined, not allowed to participate in the 52% of revenues bonus pool, or replaced on their teams,” court papers claimed. “These threats were also shared with the CBL.
Ice Cube and the Big3 league have yet to comment. Although we can safely assume they will deny the charges and any wrongdoing.
The Championship Basketball League did not play games in 2017.
The Champions Basketball League tried to follow a more traditional format — 5-on-5 games (vs. 3-on-3 from the Big3) and the CBL has a team in each city as opposed to the barnstorming tour used by the Big3. However, both leagues focus on drawing in fans with former NBA players, and having the league run during the (relatively) slow part of the summer for the NBA.
The Big3 got far more notoriety and had more success than the CBL ever did, how much that played into this lawsuit will be up to the courts to decide.