Entertainment visionary Ice Cube has brought BIG3 basketball back to fabulous Las Vegas on Saturday as they tipped off in The Orleans Arena.
Today marked the first of eight weeks of action for the Fireball3/BIG3 Tournament founded by Ice Cube and his business partner, Jeff Kwatinetz. Making their epic return to Las Vegas, games will be played at the Orleans Arena every Saturday leading up to the tournament playoffs, which are to begin Aug. 28 in the Bahamas.
The atmosphere was electric as fans, players and celebrities joined for one of the biggest sporting events Las Vegas has held since pandemic restrictions were lifted.
The BIG3 is a unique experience as it allows continued career opportunities for so many players, coaches and broadcasters as they transition out of their respective leagues.
A tournament with no shortage of former NBA and NCAA talent, one truly appreciates what BIG3 represents to the sport of basketball when you look at a team’s bench and see decorated WNBA icon Lisa Leslie or hoops legend Nancy Lieberman, who are currently the only females to coach a professional men’s team.
Talent runs deep in BIg3 Basketball
While the tournament has gained continued traction and visibility since its inception in 2017, this season’s BIG3 roster is undoubtedly its deepest yet.
If it could be said that all sports suffered as a result of the pandemic, it could also be said that the Cube’s Fireball3 tournament was best poised to recover (or rebound) once distancing mandates were lifted and vaccinations became commonplace.
The NBA had a logistical nightmare on its hands when it resumed its season in the Orlando bubble last year. As a direct result, several league players who were on the back-end of their careers simply decided to forgo the season. Meanwhile, newly retired players with plenty left to prove continue to view the BIG3 for the opportunity it is.
If you’re of a certain age it’s refreshing to see players like Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Shannon Brown and Jodi Meeks out on the court playing hard. Watching Nate Robinson hoop is just as much fun now as it’s always been, especially in an intimate setting like the BIG3 where the love of the game is everything.
From Julius ‘Dr. J’ Irving to Rick Mahorn; this organization goes out of its way to recognize the players who impact the sport the most.
Games will be played every Saturday at Orleans Arena.