The BIG3 league was founded back in 2017 to much fanfare by musician and actor Ice Cube, along with Jeff Kwatinetz. It consisted mostly of retired NBA pros to go with some international players, and the league gained quite the fan following as well. The next season is set to commence in the coming week and Ice Cube recently spoke about how the NBA doesn't seem to have embraced his league all that well.
When asked how his involvement with the league and the players has changed his fandom and how he looks at the game, Ice Cube spoke about how the NBA has done some things behind the scenes which have affected the BIG3, which in turn has had a negative impact on his outlook towards the NBA.
"The NBA, they haven't been the nicest to the BIG3 to me. Of course, publicly, they say all the right words. But we know privately, there's things done behind the scenes when it comes to sponsors, broadcasters, blah blah blah. So it soured me a little bit. I love the league and I still respect the league, I think they should do more with the BIG3."
"We have proven ourselves, we have a lot of their ex-players and ex-ambassadors as a part of this league. They believe in the league, so I wish the NBA would see that we are complimentary. We are only 3 on 3, you guys play 5 on 5. There's no issue there. Seeing it from my perspective, it did tarnish my fandom a little bit but not a lot of it."
It is unfortunate if the NBA has resorted to this behind the scenes. As Cube says, the BIG3 is no direct threat to the league as it is 3 on 3 with different rules. They have made great progress over the last 5 years and deserve some respect for what they have managed to achieve. It will be interesting to see if Adam Silver speaks on this matter at some point.
It is good that despite those issues, Cube still remains a fan of the NBA, and he has been following the league for a long time as a Laker fan. He once caused an uproar by excluding Michael Jordan from his all-time starting 5 by having 4 Lakers on it and he'd be rooting for the Lakers to turn things around in the 2022-23 season.