If you’ve been able to follow professional basketball over the sound of ESPN screaming Paul George's name into a jet turbine the past month, you’ve probably noticed there’s a new kid on the block. His name? BIG3 basketball—an upstart league with one simple mission: To scratch your summer basketball itch, no matter how disgusting, infected, or contagious. Chock full of aging stars and based on a classic schoolyard format, BIG3 is hoping to become the next big thing, but before that happens, they clearly need a little help with introductions. So tape up those ankles and remember to hydrate, because this explainer hits harder than Kermit Washington.
I just dunked on my eight-year-old nephew in the driveway and now I REALLY want to watch some basketball. Is there anything on? Well, the WNBA has been around for 20 years…
Oh, err, yeah, I mean I’m all for women’s sports and LOVE MY WIFE SOOO MUCH—RIGHT HONEY?—butttt…OK, OK, so how about BIG3?
BIG3? That sounds like one of those testosterone supplement commercials you see on Fox Sports 2. Actually, it’s a player-owned, player-operated three-on-three professional basketball league that just kicked off last week. You see, following FIBA’s recent announcement that 3x3 basketball would be joining the Olympics roster at Tokyo 2020, the demand for—
Who, whoa, whoa. You’re telling me that I can finally trade my summer Bermuda Triangle of Mets baseball, NASCAR, and the MLS in for something fun? Yep. And the best part is that you’re going to recognize a lot of the names. Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin, Jason Williams, and even the white mamba himself, Brian Scalabrine, are all captains, while the likes of Charles Oakley, Dr. J, and Gary Payton rove the sidelines. Celebrity endorsees are also of the XFL tier, with the likes of James Corden, Michael Rapaport, LL Cool J, and BIG3 co-founder, Ice Cube, all clinking some front-row Cristal (or, in this case, probably Korbel).
So how does it all work? My nephew just walked in with an ice pack on his face and the nachos I asked him to get me and I want to be able to explain this like the adult I’m not. Essentially, every Saturday for the next 10 weeks, each of the league’s eight teams will face off on one court—a total of four games per day, including halftime shows, unique player introductions, after-parties, and more.
As far as on-court rules are concerned, teams play to 60 points—with a halftime at 30 points—via a losers-take format that resets to the top of the key after each made (or missed) shot. There are no personal fouls—only team fouls, with a bonus kicking in after five in a half—and free throws—one per shooting foul—increase in both value and difficulty depending on where the shooting foul occurred on the floor (two pointer shoots from two, three pointer from three, etc.).
What about four-point shots? I see you’re peeking at my notes. Yep, there also four-point shots, located in three designated circles 30 feet from the basket (or layup range, as Steph Curry calls it).
AWESOME! HIT ME THOSE SWEET TEAM NAMES SO I CAN PICK SOMEONE TO ROOT FOR! Umm there’s Iverson’s "3’s Company", Mike Bibby’s "Ghost Ballers", Chauncey’s "Killer 3’s"...so yeah, the names could use some work...
KILLER 3’S?! THAT’S TIGHT! So where can I watch this stuff? On FS1, the home of all marginalized and failing sports, and its live streaming appendage, Fox Sports Go. Week 1 is already in the books, but the playoffs go down August 20th in Seattle, with the championship set for the following week in Vegas (because where else?). In other words, the time to jump on the bandwagon and blow out your old-man ACL like all the league's stars are already doing is definitely now.
Perfect. Can’t wait. By the way, do you happen to know how to put a kid’s tooth back in?