Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ice Cube Has Big Expectations for His Big3 3-on-3 League

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ice Cube Has Big Expectations for His Big3 3-on-3 League

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * Ice Cube is not planning an old-timer's tour. He isn't interested in All-Star Game intensity.

Players coming out of retirement for his new 3-on-3 basketball league were told they would need to deliver serious competition and some were turned away when their bodies weren't up for it. The product needed to be worthy of a sport that's so popular around the world that it's ticketed for the next Olympics.

So when the Big3 debuts Sunday in New York, it will not be a bunch of former players going through the motions. Cube expects them to be going all out, perhaps believing they can get another shot at the NBA or maybe even a gold medal.

"I think it's going to be a treat for the fans and it's not an All-Star Game," the actor and entertainer said. "Guys want to win. They want to be champions. They want to be the first champions, so I'm not worried about that at all."

The eight-team league of ex-NBA players, highlighted by Hall of Famer and former MVP Allen Iverson, begins with four games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will play on nine more weekends throughout the U.S. and broadcast each Monday night on Fox Sports 1, culminating in the Aug. 26 championship game in Las Vegas.

Former top players such as Jermaine O'Neal, Rashard Lewis and Mike Bibby are playing captains, while coaches include Julius Erving, Rick Barry, George Gervin, Gary Payton, Clyde Drexler, Charles Oakley, Rick Mahorn and Iverson who is a coach and captain, meaning he can complain to himself about practice. Each roster of five players includes a captain and co-captain.

The league, founded by Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz, got the boost it needed when it landed Iverson. Most of the other players would be classified as NBA journeymen, but Kwatinetz said the game was more important than the name.

"Ultimately getting names is important. More important is that the competition is great, that people love the basketball," he said.

Games will be played to 60 points, with halftime when the first team reaches 30. There will be some gimmicks that separate it from the official international basketball version, such as a 4-point shot and encouragement of trash talking. …

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