Big3 (stylized BIG3) is a 3-on-3 basketball league founded by hip hop musician and actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. The league consists of twelve teams whose rosters include both former NBA players and international players. The rules enforced in Big3 games contain major deviations from the official rules of 3-on-3 basketball as administered by FIBA. In January 2020, Big3 announced its rule set would be the core of a new basketball variant called "Fireball3" (stylized FIREBALL3).
|Founded||January 11, 2017|
|No. of teams||12|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Continent||FIBA Americas (Americas)|
|Triplets (1st title)|
|TV partner(s)||CBS, CBS Sports Network|
On January 11, 2017, Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz announced their new 3-on-3 basketball league at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel, in New York City. Roger Mason Jr. was the first President and Commissioner. The Big3 held its first draft on April 30, and the inaugural week of games took place June 25 at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York. On August 26, 2017, Trilogy defeated the 3 Headed Monsters 51–46 in the inaugural Big3 Championship game, completing a perfect (10–0) season. The league's Most Valuable Player award was won by 3 Headed Monsters forward Rashard Lewis; Trilogy's undefeated season led to several awards for members of the team, including Defensive Player of the Year (James White) and Coach of the Year (Rick Mahorn).
On March 15, 2018, Clyde Drexler became the second Commissioner, replacing Roger Mason. On April 3, the Big3 and Adidas agreed on a three-year partnership in which Adidas would launch a full retail line of sneakers, clothing, and equipment to launch in 2019. In conjunction with Adidas, the Big3 launched Young3, a youth initiative for underprivileged young kids, that was held in each city with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. At the conclusion of the 2018 regular season, the Power and 3 Headed Monsters were both tied for the league's best record (7–1); the Power would advance to the championship game, while the 3 Headed Monsters were ultimately eliminated by 3's Company in the semifinals. On August 24, 2018, the Power defeated 3's Company 51–43 to become the league's second champions. Power's Corey Maggette was awarded MVP and Captain of the Year, while Power's Nancy Lieberman was awarded Coach of the Year.
On January 11, 2019, the Big3 announced that they would expand to 12 teams for the upcoming season, and move to two nights (consisting of three games each) per week. The league will also play in 18 cities, and allow players as young as 27 to compete in the league.
On January 15, 2020, Big3 made several major announcements, further lowering its age limit to 22, instituting open tryouts for league players, introducing some additional rule changes, and starting use of Fireball3 to describe its rule set. The competition would not be held in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the league would have a 2021 season, the league took a $1.6 million Paycheck Protection Program loan during the pandemic, returning $700,000.
- Like FIBA-sanctioned 3x3, games are played on a half-court. (The official FIBA 3x3 court is actually shorter than half of a full FIBA court, but FIBA rules allow half of a regulation FIBA court to be used.)
- Standard two- and three-point shots apply; the three-point line is the same distance as in the NBA. (3x3 uses the FIBA arc, with shots from outside the arc worth 2 points and all others worth 1.)
- Unique to Fireball3 are three "four-point zones" on a circle 30 feet (9.1 m; 910 cm) away from the basket. One is on the midline of the court; the other two are 40 degrees away from the midline. To score four points, a player's foot must be touching any part of a circle.
- Neither Fireball3 nor 3x3 use a jump ball to start the game, but nonetheless differ significantly in start procedures. In Fireball3, the two teams participate in a pregame do-or-die 4-point shootout. The shootout winner becomes the designated "home" team, and will inbound first. In 3x3, the first possession is determined by a pregame coin toss, with the winner choosing whether to take possession at the start of a game or the start of a potential overtime.
- The shot clock runs 14 seconds, as opposed to 12 in 3x3.
- An additional free throw is taken if a player is fouled while making a shot.
- A shooting foul awards one free throw, worth the same number of points as the fouled shot. Two-point shots are taken from the free throw line, three-point shots from the three-point line, four-point shots from the midline four-point circle. The free throw is awarded whether or not the fouled shot hits the basket. 3x3 follows standard FIBA rules for free throws after shooting fouls, with the exception of bonus situations (see next item). Normally, if the basket attempt was made, one free throw is awarded, and if the basket attempt was missed, a number of free throws equal to the value of the shot attempt is awarded. Additionally, all free throws in 3x3 are worth 1 point, as they are in standard full-court basketball.
- Similar to 3x3, fouls are ascribed to the team; players cannot foul out. However, the bonus free throw rules differ between the two rule sets. In Fireball3, after the fifth team foul in each half, opponents are guaranteed two one-point free throws and possession of the ball. Teams do not enter the bonus in 3x3 until the 7th team foul in a game, at which point the non-fouling team receives two free throws, but not possession. Only on the 10th team foul does the non-fouling team receive two free throws and possession. Under FIBA 3x3 rules, the normal rules for free throws on shooting fouls are specifically superseded by the bonus rules.
- 3x3 also has unique rules regarding team foul accumulation that are not mirrored in Fireball3. All personal fouls count as 1 team foul, as in Fireball3. However, in 3x3, each technical foul adds 1 to the team foul count, and each foul classified as "unsportsmanlike" (essentially the same as "flagrant" fouls in Fireball3) or "disqualifying" (an especially violent foul, resulting in immediate disqualification) adds 2 to the team foul count.
- A team's first technical foul results in one two-point free throw and possession. Additional technical fouls, as well as all flagrant fouls, result in two two-point free throws and possession. In 3x3, technical fouls result in one (1-point) free throw and possession during open play; the first unsportsmanlike foul against a player results in two free throws without possession; and any foul that results in disqualification (either a player's second unsportsmanlike foul or a disqualifying foul) results in two free throws and possession.
- To win, a team must score 50 or more points, and lead by at least two points (hence there is no overtime). In 3x3, the game ends by rule after 10 minutes of play, or if a team reaches at least 21 points, with no required victory margin. If the teams are tied, 3x3 uses an untimed overtime with the shot clock enforced, and the first team that scores 2 points in the overtime wins.
- Halftime happens after one team reaches 25 points. 3x3 has only a single period of 10 minutes.
- Each team receives two timeouts—a 60-second and a 30-second—per half. Unused timeouts do not carry over. 3x3 allows only one timeout per team.
- Substitutions can be made on a dead ball or by calling a timeout.
- After a score, a referee must touch the ball. After giving the defense 3 seconds to set, the opposing team must take the ball beyond the top out-of-bounds line. Player has 5 seconds to return the ball inbounds. In 3x3, a referee is not required to be involved in a change of possession after the score. Instead, the non-scoring team takes possession of the ball directly under the basket, and at that point is free to dribble or pass the ball, but no shot is legal until the ball has been cleared beyond the arc.
- Defensive rebounds must be cleared if the ball touched the rim. If the ball did not touch the rim, defensive rebounds do not need to be cleared. In 3x3, all defensive rebounds must be cleared.
- Steals do not have to be cleared, unlike in 3x3.
- In both Fireball3 and 3x3, the ball is cleared when the player with the ball establishes both feet behind the 3-point line. The ball can be cleared by dribbling or passing.
- A defensive rebounder who makes a direct pass that clears the ball must clear the lane and re-establish himself before his team's shot or pass hits the rim.
- If, following a defensive rebound after the ball touches the rim, the rebounding team shoots or passes before clearing the ball and the ball hits the rim, it results in a turnover. This rule is identical to 3x3, and in that variant also extends to all changes of possession.
- Once a team has cleared the ball and establishes itself on offense, the normal "3 seconds in the key" rule applies.
- There is no defensive "3-second" rule, unlike in 3x3 and the NBA.
- Instant replay applies and can be used to determine 3- and 4-point shots, out-of-bounds, flagrant fouls, goaltending, basket interference and clearance.
- All defensive strategies are allowed, including hand-checking, which is banned in the NBA.
- Effective in 2020, each team may challenge one foul call per half under a rule that the Big3 league calls "Bring the Fire". A challenge results in an in-game one-on-one possession, with the winner's team winning the call.
- The ball used, from 2020 forward colored red and called the "Fireball" (stylized FIREBALL), is the same size 7 ball used in the men's full-court game (standard circumference 29.5 in/75 cm, standard weight 22 oz/620 g). All adult 3x3 competitions, whether for men, women, or mixed teams, use a ball unique to that game. The weight is the same as that of a size 7 ball, but the circumference is that of the size 6 ball (28.5 in/72 cm) used in the women's full-court game.
During the 2017 and 2018 seasons, players under 30 years old were not eligible to compete in the league. In 2019, the league changed the minimum age to 27 years, and in 2020 the minimum age was lowered again to 22.
The Big3 began play in 2017 with eight teams: 3's Company, 3 Headed Monsters, Ball Hogs, Ghost Ballers, Killer 3's, Power, Trilogy, and Tri-State. In 2019, the league expanded to twelve teams, adding Bivouac, Enemies, Aliens, and Triplets. All Big3 teams are "barnstorming" teams and do not represent any cities or geographical regions.
|3's Company||Michael Cooper||2017|
|3 Headed Monsters||Gary Payton||2017|
|Ball Hogs||Rick Barry||2017|
|Bivouac ||Reggie Theus||2019|
|Ghost Ballers||George Gervin||2017|
|Killer 3's||Charles Oakley||2017|
Steve Mix (interim)
In 2017 and 2018, teams competed in an eight-game, eight-week regular season from late-June through mid-August. Each week, a different city hosted four games in which all eight teams would compete. Teams faced each other at least once during the regular season, with a rematch of the week one games occurring in week eight. The four teams with the best record at the end of the regular season qualified for the semifinals.
In 2019, the league expanded to twelve teams and visits two cities each week, playing three games in each city.
In 2017 and 2018, the league featured a two-week post-season in August which included a semifinals round and a championship game. Winners of the championship are awarded the Julius Erving Championship Trophy. In addition to the playoff tournament, both weeks featured games (including a consolation game) consisting solely of teams which had been eliminated from championship contention; the results of these games determined those team's final rankings.
|2017||MGM Grand Garden Arena
Las Vegas, NV
|Trilogy||Rick Mahorn||3 Headed Monsters||Gary Payton|
|Power||Nancy Lieberman||3's Company||Michael Cooper|
Los Angeles, CA
|Triplets||Lisa Leslie||Killer 3's||Charles Oakley|
|2020||Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States|
Trophies and awardsEdit
Julius Erving Championship TrophyEdit
The Trilogy took home the Big3's inaugural championship trophy in 2017. In 2018, the league's trophy was named in honor of basketball hall of fame inductee (and current Tri-state head coach) Julius Erving. The Power were awarded the trophy in 2018.
Player and coach awardsEdit
Annually, players in the Big3 are given an opportunity to nominate and vote for fellow players and coaches in several awards categories. The results of the Big3's awards are announced shortly before the championship game. Award categories include Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, 4th Man, and Defensive Player of the Year, among others.
For the 2017 season, Fox Sports 1 carried the 8 weeks of the regular season and the playoffs on tape delay, while Fox broadcast the championship game live. Gus Johnson was the regular play-by-play announcer, though Brian Custer filled-in occasionally, Jim Jackson handled color commentary and Michael Rapaport was the sideline reporter.
In 2018, all games were broadcast live on Friday nights, with 4 weeks of games (including the semifinals and championship) on Fox, with the remaining weeks airing on FS1. For 2018 Custer was promoted to be the regular play-by-play announcer while Jackson and Rapaport returned.
- Woodyard, Eric (January 15, 2020). "BIG3 lowers minimum age amid major changes". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
- Nicholas Parco (January 11, 2017). "Ice Cube announces BIG3 basketball league for former NBA stars, will feature Allen Iverson as player and coach". New York Daily News.
- "Week 1: Brooklyn Recap". BIG3. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- Jeffrey, Max (August 27, 2017). "BIG3 Final: Trilogy Caps Off Perfect Season with Championship". Clips Nation. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "BIG3 2017 Player Awards". BIG3. August 23, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "Clyde Drexler Named BIG3 Commissioner". BIG3. March 15, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "Power-ful Performance Earns BIG3 Championship". BIG3. August 25, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- Boone, Kyle (August 21, 2018). "2018 BIG3 Basketball awards: Corey Maggette takes home MVP; 'Birdman' wins Defensive Player of the Year". CBSSports.com. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "BIG3 Expansion". BIG3. January 11, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- Gunn, Tamantha (May 18, 2020). "Ice Cube's BIG3 cancels 2020 season due to COVID-19". Revolt.
- "Some sports leagues, teams approved for coronavirus relief money". WBIR. Associated Press. July 7, 2020.
- "NEW TEAM: Allen Iverson and Dermarr Johnson will Lead 3's Company". BIG3.com. Archived from the original on March 9, 2017. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- "NEW TEAM: Rashard Lewis & Jason Williams Reunite on 3 Headed Monsters". BIG3.com. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- "Aliens Announced as Second BIG3 Expansion Team". BIG3.com. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- "Ball Hogs". BIG3. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "Bivouac Announced as third BIG3 Expansion Team". BIG3.com. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
- "Enemies join BIG3 Expansion". BIG3.com. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "Mike Bibby & Ricky Davis Unite for Ghost Ballers in the #BIG3". BIG3.com. Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- "NEW TEAM: Chauncey Billups & Stephen Jackson unite for KILLER3s". BIG3.com. Archived from the original on May 16, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
- "Corey Maggette & Cuttino Mobley Join Forces on POWER". BIG3.com. Archived from the original on March 30, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
- Hoffman, Benjamin (March 21, 2018). "Nancy Lieberman's Return to Coaching Will Come in the Big3". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "NEW TEAM: Kenyon Martin reunites with Al Harrington for TRILOGY". BIG3.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- "Jermaine O'Neal and Bonzi Wells to lead team TRI-STATE". BIG3.com. Archived from the original on March 2, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
- "BIG3 EXPANSION". BIG3.com. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- "BIG3 Championship Trophy Named In Honor of Dr. J". BIG3. June 11, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "BIG3 names championship trophy after Dr. J". Newsday. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- Fox’s Big 3 basketball broadcast team: Gus Johnson, Jim Jackson and…Michael Rapaport? awfulannouncing.com. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Hayes, Dade; Hayes, Dade (April 4, 2019). "CBS Sports And Big3 Set Exclusive TV Deal For 3-On-3 Basketball Summer Season". Deadline. Retrieved April 4, 2019.