Ice Cube knows if the players don’t take the Big3 league seriously, neither will fans.
It’s hard to get an endeavor like a new sports league — in this case, kind of a barnstorming senior tour for the NBA with guys playing 3-on-3 — off the ground. So far the league has filled buildings and had decent ratings on FS1.
The biggest news story out of the Big3 so far has been how Allen Iverson — the league’s biggest draw, and coach and occasional player for one of the teams — went AWOL in Dallas last weekend. Iverson has since apologized, but on Wednesday the Big3 suspended Iverson. Ice Cube explained why to Adi Joseph of For The Win at the USA Today.
“Well, we talked about holding up the legitimacy of the league and he knows that him not showing up hurts us,” Ice Cube said. “Who’s happy to be suspended? Nobody. But he understands that it’s a necessary step in the development of the BIG3 who don’t believe what we’re doing and what we’re going to do in the future. Our league is bigger than one man, and we’ve got Hall-of-Famers, champions, All-Stars, first-round picks, and we have to think about them. He understands that.”
Iverson is suspended for the games in Kentucky this weekend, but is expected to be back coaching (and maybe playing) in Los Angeles the following Sunday.
I get what the Big3 is thinking — the NFL was willing to suspend Tom Brady, the NBA suspended Draymond Green for an NBA Finals game, the top sports leagues put the health of the league over the individual. Reluctantly and slowly, but they do it. If the Big3 let Iverson walk on this, the league would get walked on down the line by other stars who only show up to play part time.
We’ll see how all this impacts ticket sales and ratings, if at all. Stars sell in the NBA, so there certainly is risk here for the Big3. But Ice Cube, Roger Mason Jr. and the rest of the management team are trying to build something bigger.