Ice Cube Joins WFAN To Discuss BIG3 Basketball, Kobe Bryant, And More

Joe & Evan
August 23, 2018 - 12:25 pm
Clyde Drexler, Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz pose during the BIG3 League draft at at the Fox Sports Studio.

USA TODAY Sports Images

By WFAN.com

When Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube came together to announce the start of their new 3-on-3 basketball league in January, 2017, no one could have expected the league to jump off like it has.

Now in its second season, the BIG3 has seen its popularity, and more importantly its ratings, skyrocket from its first year of existence. 

A big reason for the increase in interest is because of the decision to air three games a week on live TV, as well as the addition of more high-profile retired stars, such as Amar'e Stoudemire, Nate Robinson, and Metta World Peace.

Ice Cube joined Joe & Evan in the studio Thursday to discuss the BIG3's successful second campaign.

"The quality and the competition have to be at a certain level to get guys excited, you know? That's who we're aiming for," Ice Cube told Evan Roberts. "We want people to be excited about the BIG3 when the [NBA> Finals are over and they can say, 'What are we going to do this summer? We're going to check out the BIG3.'"

Looking at the statistics, it appears as if they succeeded in their quest to draw more basketball fans to the BIG3. TV viewership across Fox and Fox Sports has averaged 395,000 viewiers, up 107 percent over 2017. Average attendance for the games is also up to 13,484, an increase of 25 percent from the league's first season. In addition, the BIG3 picked up Adidas as an apparel sponsor and merchandiser back in April. 

The league made national headlines this week as Kwatinetz, the BIG3's co-founder, told reporters on a conference call that Lakers legend Kobe Bryant would be playing in the league's third season.

While that rumor has already been put to bed, it hasn't stopped Ice Cube from dreaming.

"I'm stalking him everyday," said the BIG3's co-founder. "To me, a 'no' is a 'maybe.'

"He would love it. It matters if he has the desire to train and compete. That's the [important> part. Do you still have that in you? Because you have to do that. You're not going to walk off the street and have success. That's what I love about the BIG3."

A Los Angeles native, Ice Cube is known as being a huge LA Lakers fan.

While he admitted the Golden State Warriors still have a stronghold over the NBA, Ice Cube warned Roberts not to sleep on his Lakers.

"Well maybe not this year," said the 49-year-old rapper, actor and writer. "But I think we have young pieces, we have the best player in the league, and then we have veteran pieces. Of players that raise eyebrows, when you add JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, and [Rajon> Rondo to the mix, these are all guys that competed against LeBron and won't back down to him. They won't bow down to him.

"That's good to show our young players that even though you have a superstar like this, don't just defer and forget your game and forget that you're a pro too. You have to bring it too. So I think we have a nice balance to make a little noise this year and then go for it next year."

The second season of the BIG3 concludes Friday, August 24 at Barclays Center.