Ice Cube’s BIG3 is getting ready for its fourth season and has announced some major changes.
First, instead of calling the sport 3-on-3 basketball, it has been renamed FIREBALL3. The name change is in response to the Olympics adding 3-on-3 to the list of sports.
“There are a lot of sports out there that require similar skill sets, like MMA and boxing, football and rugby, baseball and cricket,” said BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube via statement. “Our fans let us know that we were playing something extremely unique, FIREBALL3, which is nothing like the typical 3-on-3 FIBA game coming to the Olympics.”
The league has instituted several rule changes, including a lowering of the age minimum from 27 to 22 years old. The league will also allow younger players with hardship cases.
Other changes include “Bring the Fire” which allows a team to challenge a foul call with a one-on-one possession where the winner gets the call. Instead of a replay, players have a trial by combat to determine key possessions in a game.
Aside from the retired NBA stars that currently dominate the BIG3, the organization is looking to expand the player pool.
“I think lowering the age does erase the stigma (of this being a retirement league),” Ice Cube told ESPN. “It might’ve kept people from playing in the BIG3 because they don’t want to seem like they’re done.”
The BIG3 also removed the requirement of pro basketball experience and will hold open tryouts. Ice Cube hopes this will create an opportunity for artists like J. Cole and Chris Brown or athletes in other sports to compete.
The BIG3 is also trailblazing with its emphasis on individuality, allowance of CBD usage, and an extensive mental health plan.