The BIG3 basketball league that has already garnered a slew of social and terrestrial media attention less than a few weeks after its existence was first reported on by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski in December. Mason is the president and commissioner of the league, the brainchild of rapper/actor Ice Cube and veteran entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz, Cube’s business partner.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Mason said Sunday night. “But it’s awesome.”
The new league will begin right after The NBA Finals end in late June. There will be eight teams of five players apiece, along with a coach/GM, who will select his team’s players after a draft combine in the spring. The draft will be three rounds of eight players each round. Players have to be at least 30 years old to be eligible. There will be four games a week for 10 weeks, culminating in a two-week playoff in August.
Hall of Famers George Gervin and Gary Payton have said they’ll coach. Fellow HOFer Allen Iverson has said he’ll both coach and play. Former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, NBA champions Stephen Jackson and Mike Bibby and former vets like Jermaine O’Neal, Corey Maggette, Rashard Lewis and Bonzi Wells are among those lacing them up again as players.
Those involved insist they’re not seeking to recapture their glory days or fatten their wallets. (BIG3 players will each receive $100,000 once they make one of the league’s teams, with additional money available as they advance through the playoffs.)
“It’s not about the NBA,” Maggette said Saturday. “My NBA career is over, and I accepted that. It’s more about what we can do to stay in shape. For me, it’s more about staying in shape and still being with those guys that I’ve known my whole career … for me in particular, I work out all the time, but it’s different from basketball shape.”