July 14, 2017 by themikepaige
(Courtesy of Michael Loccisano / Getty Images)
Written by Michael Paige
Coming from the same mind that brought you Are We There Yet, Friday and one of the founding members of N.W.A. Ice Cube presents to the world his fresh take on modern basketball; The Big 3 League.
The Big 3 in a nutshell is what would happen if you took the three on three pickup games you and your friends had at the local Y.M.C.A., substituted in retired NBA players and added a few quirks to freshen up the concept. On the surface the new structure is much more intimate, confining the six players to a half court with every other measurement remaining the same.
What the court lacks in size, it makes up for it with some new rules. While two pointers inside the arch and three pointers beyond the arch still apply there is a new addition in the way of four point circles to spice up the game. Commonly referred as “Curry-land” or “Curry Range” by commentators, the four point circles add a few extra feet to the shot as well as confines the player to one of three small circles on the linoleum. A player, according to Mr. Cube himself, must have at least one foot inside the circle, giving the player some flexibility; but in desperation moments it becomes an easy target for the defense.
The next big change introduced in the Big 3 is the scoring itself. Don’t expect any triple digit games as the whole goal of the game is 50 points (previously 60). Instead of time, which was the initial marker, it’s first to 25 that signals the half. And just like in streetball the winning team must win by two, which, when combined with the 4 point shots, could spell an instant victory or last second upset.
The final major update that the Big 3 introduces is the severity of penalties. Instead of fouls leading to technical fouls and foul-outs, penalties hurt a team more than the individual. In place of the bonus being awarded after a certain number of fouls, a team is awarded one singles shot equal to the value of where they were fouled. So a player fouled within the paint gets a two point foul shot. This system makes players more cautious around the elusive 4 point circle, lest they want to hand their opponents a gimme. And don’t worry technical fouls are still in the game but they give your opponent possession and a two point foul shot plus an additional shot if more than one technical is applied.
Aside from other small changes like clearing the ball when it’s hit the rim, the rest of the Big 3 is fundamentally the same.
I see the Big 3 league less as a gimmicky knock off like 2002’s trampoline abundant Slamball, but rather as a more relatable youth friendly contender to the NBA. Not only are the games shorter, making it bar friendly and a great pick up and watch format at home, but the Big 3 league is also a great alternative for players. For up and comers, undrafted college players and retired NBA veterans, the Big 3 offers a place for them to continue to play the sport that they love at an equally competitive level and still make a name for themselves.
I look forward to seeing if Ice Cube’s fresh take on the sport of basketball can stand on its own two legs or if it will fall to the wayside as another celebrity business gone awry.