When Ice Cube announced he was starting the Big3 League back in January, no one really knew what to expect.
He certainly had a number of former NBA superstars on his roster like Allen Iverson, Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Rashard Lewis and Chauncey Billups; along with coaches including Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Gary Payton, Charles Oakley, Clyde Drexler, and Rick Mahorn, but would the premise work? Could retired ballers still play or would the Big3 turn out to be a gimmick like the XFL?
During first XFL game broadcast on February 3, 2001, the arrival of "HE HATE ME" Rod Smart. Future XFL game promo: http://t.co/5DILlfZbOr
— Steven Sharp (@TheStevenSharp) February 3, 2014
For those too young to know or for those who choose to forget, the XFL was a football league in 2001 founded by WWE chairman Vince McMahon.
It was definitely football, with a higher entertainment factor and looser rules; players were able to use nicknames on their jerseys instead of their real ones. Hence, the legend of Rod “He Hate Me” Smart, who went on to have success with the Carolina Panthers after the league folded.
— Dime on UPROXX (@DimeUPROXX) August 20, 2017
Weeks before the inaugural Big3 season was to begin, the International Olympic Committee announced that 3-on-3 basketball would be included in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
In a way, the IOC’s announcement helped legitimize what Ice Cube was trying to do: bring 3-on-3 from the inner city playgrounds to the mainstream.
Will injuries be the biggest headlines to come out of the new Big3 league…https://t.co/jYUxO8Y33p
— 1080 The FAN (@1080TheFAN) June 28, 2017
Little did anyone know, after a rough opening weekend – these are retired players, remember – the injuries sustained in the first week of the season made many people take pause as to if this was a good idea after all.
The League had already lost one of its biggest stars, Jason Williams, for the season. Who was going to follow?