BIG3 to expand to twelve teams, lower player entry age to 27

Ice Cube announced in a BIG3 conference call today that the league will expand from eight to twelve teams and lower the player entry age from 30 to 27.

BIG3 is flourishing into its third season, with Ice Cube announcing that the league is officially expanding from eight to twelve teams and putting out games two nights a week. BIG3 Chairman of the Board Amy Trask was excited about the prospect of new team names but even more thrilled to announce WNBA icon Lisa Leslie is joining as Head Coach of new expansion team Triplets this season.

The league is listening to arena fan feedback and cutting back a bit on the length of a BIG3 outing, with three games per exhibition instead of four. Cube is making another significant change with a lowered player entry age of 27 instead of 30, believing what’s really vital is NBA or professional overseas experience rather than a seasoned age as a barometer for a talent.

FanSided asked BIG3 co-founders Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz if they’ve had any preliminary discussion with Carmelo Anthony and O.J. Mayo about potentially joining the BIG3, if they don’t return to the NBA this season?

Ice Cube on Carmelo Anthony, O.J. Mayo, and recruiting players as a whole:

I haven’t talked to Carmelo Anthony or O.J. Mayo. I think these guys are trying to get back to the NBA and until they pass any kind of end lines where they can’t get back in this season or they’re not gonna be on anybody’s playoff roster… Like some players wait for, we don’t want to approach them until that deadline has come and gone, then we’ll ask. That’s kind of to me the best way to do it. We do a bit of recruiting but the biggest recruiting tool for the BIG3 is players that play in the BIG3.

Jeff Kwatinetz on a potential Carmelo Anthony signing:

For someone like Carmelo, if he doesn’t get on a roster for the playoffs, personally we think the BIG3 is a great showcase. I think Carmelo still has a lot of NBA time. He’s a great player and a great person, who got treated unfairly in New York. I would hope that people now realize from guys that go from the BIG3 back to the NBA or other professional leagues, that we’re a great platform.

These guys like Zach “Zbo” Randolph can really contribute to a playoff team, so they gotta wait and see before they potentially sign onto the BIG3. In terms of talent, we are confident in a blockbuster year.

BIG3 Commissioner Clyde “The Glyde” Drexler mentioned Hedo Türkoğlu and O.J Mayos as BIG3 prospects, as well as other players like Mayo who currently play overseas.

BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz couldn’t divulge too much information about a potential Viacom deal for FOX’s regional sports networks because of a naturally attached NDA. However, he did maintain if a deal were to go through it would be a full-on 24/7 national network, rather than running a few specials kind of deal.

FanSided inquired if the kind of programming that will air on a potential network will resemble TNT’s Players Only but with a social edge/capital or more akin to LeBron James’ documentary three-part special on Showtime named Shut Up and Dribble?

Kwatinetz elaborated that they are not trying to compete with ESPN but rather reach a certain younger market, naming Gen X and Generation Z. The BIG3 co-founder commented that though “he hesitates to use sports and politics in a sentence,” he believes the pairing can mix. That they hope to give players a platform to discuss their views. Kwatinetz referenced Nike’s successful campaign with Colin Kaepernick. The network would presumably have more social and political conversation with Ice Cube mentioning being a fan of what Jemele Hill was doing at ESPN.

Next: BIG3’s Maggette, Mobley, Q-Rich talk Power’s Clippers reunion

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