The Big3, a professional three-on-three basketball league featuring name-brand former NBA players, was co-founded by Ice Cube on Jan. 11, 2017. About five minutes after I learned about it, my hope was this: Please bring this thing to the Twin Cities.
For the first three seasons, though, the league stayed away. The closest it got was Chicago, and I was so fascinated by it that I tried to convince an editor that I should fly down to cover it. (He politely declined).
But a little over three years later, as the league prepares for its fourth season, I have finally received the initial wish.
The league announced this week that Target Center is among its eight regular-season stops in 2020. The format: All 12 teams in the league play a combined six games on Saturday, July 18, as part of a festival-style event that will include music and basketball clinics as part of the weekend.
Ticket details and specific times have not yet been released.
Think of it like a Champions Tour event in golf — only way better. While rosters aren’t crammed with former NBA superstars, they are full of solid-to-very-good former league players.
Royce White is slated to play this year. Several former Timberwolves players have been on past rosters, including Ricky Davis (pictured above), Craig Smith, Latrell Sprewell and Rashad McCants — the latter holding the distinction of being the first overall pick in the first Big3 draft in 2017.
Yes, there’s a draft. And a combine. And the players get paid. Last year they made $10,000 per game for an eight-game schedule (and two playoff rounds), plus a share of league revenue. That’s nowhere near NBA money, but it’s enough to feed your family.
Among the new wrinkles this year: If a call is challenged, players can settle it with a game of one-on-one.
“All of the cities we’re visiting this season are known to have some of the most passionate and knowledgeable sports fans in the world, and we can’t wait to bring them the BIG3,” said league co-founder Ice Cube in a press release.”
I can’t wait, either.