Ice Cube is a revolutionary. In the world of music, he helped revolutionize rap music being a part of N.W.A. In Hollywood, he helped revolutionize a rapper making the crossover to writing movie scripts. Well, in the world of sports, Ice Cube has once again been seen as a revolutionary. On this past MLK Day, Ice Cube received the Impact Award from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. They cited his formation of the Big 3 basketball league as to why they awarded him.
The Big 3 was created for a few reasons. Ice Cube saw a demand for summertime basketball once the NBA Finals ended. But also, he realized that when players retired, they still could play. It’s just that many players’ bodies couldn’t hold up over an 82-game NBA regular season. If he could create a reputable medium for some of these players to still have a competitive outlet, it could prove to be viable. Well, it has, with six seasons of proof.
Of course, the league’s presentation has taken different shapes. It’s mostly viewed online now, but it has also survived a global pandemic. Once marketed as the place where you could see the likes of Allen Iverson playing again, the league’s mission has evolved. Along with seeing some notable former NBA talents, you also get to see prospective NBA talent. Not to mention, there have been some former NBA talents who have gotten back into the league after a strong showing in the Big 3. Just ask Joe Johnson.
What Ice Cube has done in this respect is probably what any ultimate fan wishes they could’ve done. Creating your own basketball league is a huge accomplishment. The Big 3 even features women as head coaches. Lisa Leslie and Nancy Lieberman are leaders of men in the Big 3. Lieberman has even won a Big 3 championship. So, Ice Cube has certainly pushed things forward in his own way.
If you ask me, this endeavor is all about making a positive impact. And as much as we may differ with Ice Cube’s messaging in other respects, he was spot on in his vision of the Big 3. It’s his love letter to the sport of basketball. He’s as passionate about making this league grow as he is about the sport itself. And this recognition should only encourage him and push him positively on this path. This is my hope. Give it up one time for Ice Cube!