Ice Cube and the BIG3 plan to fill the seismic hole left behind when sports leagues across the country either canceled or postponed their games due to the growing concern of the coronavirus. What started out as a partnering with the producers of "Big Brother" to create a basketball tournament that also focuses on the lives of the players off the court, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. Similar to "Big Brother," all the players will live in one house together as cameras document their daily lives., now has a more concrete plan in place, as the league is
There's a lot to unpack about what this tournament show will look like, or if it's even possible to pull off safely. Given that everyone in the country is trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible, this idea may not seem very plausible at first look. So, here's everything you need to know about the upcoming tournament that's set to air in May.
How will this work?
To ensure that no one is a carrier of COVID-19, all players involved will be tested beforehand, and only those who test negative will be allowed to play. All the players will be quarantined together in Los Angeles, and if anyone leaves the house they will be kicked out.
"Our No. 1 concern is safety," co-founder of the BIG3 Jeff Kwatinetz said in a statement provided to CBS Sports. "Aside from being able to work with some of the best producers possible for this type of show, they're also the right people to ensure safety and health because they've done this for over 20 years in hundreds of countries. They've specialized in keeping people in quarantined conditions. If anybody knows what they're doing, it's them."
The tournament will have between 16-22 players, and could feature some of the top former men and women's professional basketball players, according to Haynes.
The idea is to mesh together the same style of reality TV you'd find while watching "Big Brother" but with the competitiveness BIG3 players. It's still going to be a 3-on-3 style of play, but with a few changes. Instead of set rosters throughout a regular season like the BIG3 typically ran, teammates will be switched around after each round. The tournament will be seven rounds, and while players are competing in teams of three, the goal is to have the most individual wins at the end of it all. If a player racks up three losses, they're eliminated. The player with the most wins at the end of the tournament is set to receive a seven-figure cash prize, with the second and third place finishers receiving a smaller amount.
Which players are involved?
There have not been any official announcements as to who will be participating, but former NBA players like Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas, Amar'e Stoudemire, Zach Randolph and Greg Oden have been mentioned, according to Haynes. There's no details yet on what the selection process will be like to form the initial teams, or how many teams will be playing, but in previous seasons the league has done a three-round draft to fill out its rosters. In the BIG3's most recent season, there were 12 teams that competed with each roster comprising of six players and a coach. There's no word yet on if there will be coaches involved in this tournament as well, but given that everyone will need to be sequestered in a house together for the duration of this tournament, that probably lessens the chances of that happening.
What will be interesting to see is if the league implements any of theit announced in January. The age requirement was lowered from 27 to 22 to allow younger, fresher talent a platform to play, and teams are now allowed to challenge foul calls with a single-possession game of one-on-one. The BIG3 prides itself on being completely unique from any other basketball league, and trying out new rules to make the game more exciting is certainly a way to gain attention.
What happens if this is a success?
Although this idea came about as a response to the lack of sports on right now, the BIG3 hopes to make this tournament a yearly event as a way to kickoff the regular season. While that likely hinges on the success of this first season, if Ice Cube and Kwatinetz can pull this off safely, then it would provide the league a bigger platform. Right now, the fourth season of the BIG3 is set to start June 20 in Memphis, but due to the coronavirus the league announced that six dates have already been moved to "an intimate, climate controlled Los Angeles venue."