LL Cool J and Ice Cube at BIG3 game in Brooklyn (Photo by Derrel Johnson by Steed Media Service)

LL Cool J and Ice Cube at BIG3 game in Brooklyn (Photo by Derrel Johnson for Steed Media Service)

The BIG3 basketball league concluded its inaugural regular season and begins playoffs on Sunday, Aug. 20 in Seattle. Rolling out was on hand for the league’s debut and from their initial games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the BIG3 had support from NBA star James Harden and hip-hop stars LL Cool J and Fabolous.

In the seven weeks that have followed, 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade, and hip-hop stars like Chance the Rapper and Snoop Dogg have been some of the stars from the NBA and hip-hop communities who have been seen courtside. Rolling out asked Ice Cube what the support means to him personally and what impact has it had on the league.

“Well, to me I think it’s great … Hopefully, you put together something that people want to see.  I don’t think they would come unless it was hot. [If] I put on stuff and people felt like they didn’t want to come, they’d be like, ‘Alright man, I’d catch ya on the next one, Cube.’ Which is cool because I do them the same way. But if it’s hot, they want to come … And they ask for tickets and they get mad when they don’t get the tickets they need and that’s how you know you got something hot …,” Ice Cube said.

The hip-hop veteran and actor continued to discuss how it felt saying, “It all feels good cause you know it’s not fabricated and manufactured and it feels good to have something that’s hot. Straight up, if you’re an entertainer or in this business on that level you want something that’s hot, something that everyone wants to see or be a part of, so it feels great on that level.”

Ice Cube’s partner and co-founder of the BIG3, Jeff Kwatinetz, also chimed in.

“These [celebrities] are all people who get dragged around for their time, so sometimes people put in appearances; other times, you know they’re really there and engaged. You know, I think across the eight-game season we saw, not only did we get a lot of celebrities coming out, but they were engaged and they were into it, and they told their friends, which is important … Whether they are celebrities or you know it’s just a kid who spends most of his time you know in his bedroom, using social media, telling people what he thinks is hot,” Kwatinetz said.

Cube and Kwatinetz should be commended for their vision. They saw a void where basketball fans weren’t watching baseball (during the off season) and they filled it with a league featuring former stars and veterans of the NBA playing three-on-three hoops. Despite some hurdles, the inaugural season has been a huge success.

The BIG3 has averaged well over 10K fans at the eight stops, thus far, and this should continue in the playoffs, as the league hits two cities without professional basketball teams, Seattle this Sunday and Las Vegas, Aug. 26. If that date sounds familiar, it should. That is the date Floyd Mayweather takes on Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena, the initial location for the inaugural BIG3 championship. The BIG3 will play at Mayweather’s old home, the MGM Grand Garden Arena. See the BIG3 playoffs on Fox Sports 1, Monday, 8 p.m., and the championship live on Fox Sports 1, 4:30 p.m., Aug. 26.

Derrel Johnson

Lover of Christ, sports, hip-hop, my hometown of Harlem and much more. IG @JazzJohnson1