Well, hello there. My name is Jay Connor.
I hate mumble rap, am obsessed with Earth, Wind and Fire—did y’all catch that Verzuz?!—and appreciate the finer things in life...like the Big3.
For the uninformed, Big3 is a 3-on-3 basketball league that was founded by Ice Cube and entertainment exec Jeff Kwatinetz in 2017. Yes, there are plenty of basketball leagues sprinkled throughout the globe with varying degrees of pizazz and competition, but what makes the Big3 unique is that it’s comprised almost entirely of former NBA players.
Among its 12 teams, you’ll find familiar vestiges of your childhood. The Artist Formerly Known as Chris Jackson—who became a Shia Muslim and assumed the name Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in 1993—is still getting buckets for the 3 Headed Monsters. Stephen Jackson and Charles Oakley, two of my favorite players in a past life, coach the Trilogy and the Killer 3s respectively. NBA legends like Julius Erving and Rick Barry are also heavily involved, as are two of the greatest basketball players in the history of the sport: “Lady Magic” herself, Nancy Lieberman, and two-time WNBA champion Lisa Leslie.
Not only is the Big3 stacked with big-name talent—as well as fun quirks like a 14-second shot clock and Logo Lillard-esque 4-point baskets—but it’s dripping with nostalgia. It’s also smartly packaged as a legacy league for former players who can still compete at a high level and have every desire to play, but are unable to do so in the NBA. The 2019 championship duel between Joe Johnson’s Triplets and Stephen Jackson’s Killer 3s was an instant classic; though sadly, we were denied a rematch due to the coronavirus. After initially postponing its 2020 season, the decision was made to cancel it entirely out of concern for the safety of fans and participants.
Fast forward to 2021, and now that we have increased safety measures in place and vaccines coursing through our veins, the Big3 is poised for a major comeback. Earlier this month, the league announced it would make its triumphant return in July, and on Tuesday, it revealed exactly when we can expect some of our favorite players to get back to the game they know and love.
In the past, the Big3 season consisted of an 11-week schedule that included the playoffs in Week 10 and the championship game during Week 11. This season, it appears the schedule will be truncated to only 10 weeks. It also looks like instead of bouncing around the country, they’ll limit games to Las Vegas and New Orleans as a safety measure as the world continues to adjust to the global pandemic.
We can also expect some new faces to join the fold, as former Los Angeles Laker Nick Young has become the league’s latest signee. Three-time NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas will also return to coach the Enemies.
“This season is gonna be crazy,” Ice Cube tweeted.
As a big fan of all things Big3, I can’t wait to get my fix. I also have some suggestions for which former NBA players I’d like to see don a Big3 uniform, but that’s a conversation for another day.
For tickets and info on the upcoming season, hit up the Big3's website.