We’re coming off a banner year for celebrity sports gimmicks and so far 2017 looks like it could be even better. The year started off with the ersatz boxing match between Chris Brown and Soulja Boy to be promoted by Floyd Mayweather. That never happened but the now retired ‘pound for pound’ best in the world wasted to time in trying to put together a ‘megafight’ with UFC star Conor McGregor. Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal was supposed to be involved in this year’s Wrestlemania but that was scrapped due to some combination of his work ethic, physical conditioning and commitment. All the while there’s been talk that Conor McGregor and/or Ronda Rousey could make a move to pro wrestling.
The latest and most high concept celebrity sports gimmick is the brainchild of former NWA rapper turned actor Ice Cube. He’s announced plans for a 3-on-3 basketball league featuring former NBA players called ‘BIG3’. BIG3 has a lot going for it—big name athletes, decent media coverage and a TV deal with Fox Sports. They’re releasing details and information about the league gradually which might be by design to string along media interest or it could be that they’re making it up as they go along.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE BIG3 BASKETBALL LEAGUE
The BIG3 league will be a ‘touring league’ featuring 8 teams of five players each. The league will play an 8 week ‘regular season’ to set up a Week 9 playoffs and Week 10 championships. The rules are designed to facilitate ‘competition and intensity’ via 3-on-3 half court play according to BIG3 press materials. Based on the graphics on the BIG3 website, the teams will compete on a court that looks about the same size as a comedy club stage with the crowd right up close to the action. The league website also explains ‘The Concept’ as follows:
The BIG3 is the American 3-on-3 professional basketball league. Combining superstar players and fan interaction before and after the games make this an exciting live experience. The entire league is operated and managed by the players. No outsiders. No politics. Just highly competitive basketball played as it’s meant to be.
The league has released seven team names and logos:
3 Headed Monsters
In all fairness, the logos are really cool and they’re getting a lot of love from the media. The league could make a ton of money on merchandising if they do it right. There are big names attached to the project—Allen Iverson, Jermaine O’Neal, Mike Bibby, Chauncey Billups, Clyde Drexler, Charles Oakley, Gary Payton, George Gervin, Rick Mahorn, Ricky Barry and Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving among others.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE BIG3 BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Just about everything else is either up in the air or being kept under wraps. Only one date and venue has been ‘officially’ announced—the league is scheduled to debut on June 25th at the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn. Tickets are now on sale with prices ranging from $27 to $215. No other information about the schedule or cities where games will be played is available.
Each team has a captain and a co-captain with the rest of the roster (and in some cases the team’s coach) being filled at a draft to be held in April. Aside from an impressive list of potential players and an innovative concept there’s not much to go on in terms of team quality, gameplay and the big picture viability of the league. All of these unknowns make it tough to handicap and set numbers on the eventual winner—or anything else concerning the BIG3.
Unlike many celebrity sports gimmicks, the BIG3 has the potential for success. It could be a fun, entertaining and competitive novelty for the basketball offseason. On the other hand, it could combine the worst elements of celebrity boxing and Vince McMahon’s ill-fated XFL which also started with some interesting ideas, a TV deal and cool team logos. That all remains to be seen but in the meantime BetOnline.ag sportsbook offers these betting odds on the BIG3 basketball league’s performance on and off the court:
BIG3 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL LEAGUE PROPOSITION BETTING ODDS
Team to win the BIG3 3-on-3 Basketball Championship (Early Market)?
3’s Company / Allen Iverson: +450
3 Headed Monsters / Rashard Lewis: +400
Ghoster Ballers / Mike Bibby: +600
Killer 3s / Chauncey Billups: +600
Power / Corey Maggette: +650
Trilogy / Kenyon Martin: +600
Tri-State / Jermaine O’Neal: +450
Will the BIG3 season start on June 25 as scheduled?
Will the BIG3 complete a full season as scheduled?
Will all eight BIG3 teams start the season on June 25?
Will all eight BIG3 teams complete the season?
Will the BIG3 average live attendance capacity percentage exceed that of the XFL?
Yes—Over 44.1%: -350
No—Under 44.1%: +300
Will the BIG3 opening week TV rating exceed the XFL opening game TV rating?
Yes—Over 9.5: +250
No—Under 9.5: -300
Will any BIG3 weekly TV rating exceed the XFL opening game TV rating?
Yes—Over 9.5: +105
No—Under 9.5: -125
Will the BIG3 Week 2 TV rating exceed the XFL Week 2 TV rating?
Yes—Over 4.6: -150
No—Under 4.6: +130
Will any BIG3 weekly TV rating exceed the XFL’s worst weekly TV rating?
Yes—Over 1.5: -450
No—Under 1.5: +370