Los Angeles – January 15, 2020 – In 2017, the BIG3 set out to professionalize traditional 3-on-3 basketball and made innovative changes purely motivated by a desire to elevate the game. Ahead of its fourth season in 2020, the BIG3 is announcing a bevy of enhancements to the league as well as a recognition of what has already been accomplished over the past three years – the official creation of a new global sport: FIREBALL3.
The millions of fans who attended, watched, and became diehard BIG3 followers know that the BIG3 game is nothing like traditional 3-on-3 basketball. The young fans call it various things, one of which is FIREBALL3. Today, the BIG3 is leaning into their lead and officially recognizing that BIG3 athletes are playing a completely new sport.
“There are a lot of sports out there that require similar skill sets, like MMA and boxing, football and rugby, baseball and cricket. Our fans let us know that we were playing something extremely unique, FIREBALL3, which is nothing like the typical 3-on-3 FIBA game coming to the Olympics,” said BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube.
BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz commented, “Our appeal is young and more diverse and we needed to eliminate confusion to help fans understand what to expect from our on-court product. Our sport has already proven to be the freshest and most exciting in decades, attracting fans around the globe and major sponsors including Adidas and others.”
“We’ve needed the freedom to keep innovating without potential new fans thinking it was typical 3-on-3. Plus, we didn’t want our deep love and respect for the NBA to be misinterpreted by our use of different rules,” added Ice Cube. “We could never compete with the NBA any more than we could compete with the NFL or FIFA. We are the BIG3, our own unique thing. But that doesn’t mean FIREBALL3 can’t coexist with these sports and still be many fans’ favorite sport.”
“We’re going to keep growing, keep building and keep putting the best athletes on the court. We hope that one day FIREBALL3 will be an Olympic sport too,” stated Ice Cube.
The BIG3 will bring the very best to fans in the upcoming season with a number of enhancements and exciting on-court innovations:
- Lowering Minimum Age – The BIG3 will lower the minimum age to qualify for athletes from 27 to 22 with younger exceptions in hardship cases.
- Bring the Fire – Once per half, a team can challenge a foul call resulting in an in-game one-on-one possession with the victor winning the call.
- All Athletes Welcome – The BIG3 will hold open tryouts for athletes to qualify for the BIG3 combine. Professional basketball experience no longer required. The BIG3 wants the best athletes in the world regardless of sporting experience. In the same manner as the NFL takes the best from various sports, this could mean two-sport athletes, overlooked basketball stars, and some athletes choosing FIREBALL3 over other sports (i.e. NFL tight ends).
- Festivals Every Saturday – Following the thrill and success of BIG3 Ballout in Dallas last season, the BIG3 will host sports and entertainment festivals in a different city every Saturday during the summer. The BIG3 will present six straight games, musical performances, and host YOUNG3 clinics in the local community the Friday before, as well as other weekend events in the city.
- The FIREBALL – The league will use a new all red ball known as a FIREBALL.
The new sport is the result of game innovations, unique rules, and league policies introduced by the BIG3 over its first three seasons, including:
- Single Foul Shots – All shooting fouls in the BIG3 result in a single free-throw worth the number of points for the attempted field goal. If a player is fouled on a two-point field goal, he will shoot from the foul line for a chance at two points. In the BIG3, three-point foul shots are taken from the three-point line at the top of the key and four-point foul shots are taken from the center four-point circle.
- 14-Second Shot Clock – All possessions in the BIG3 have a 14-second shot clock.
- 4-Point Shot – Players have the option to pull up from three circles 30-feet from the basket for a four-point shot. A shooter needs just one foot touching the circle for the four-point shot to count.
- Coach Challenges: BIG3 coaches are given one challenge per game to review clearing, 3 and 4-point shots, out-of-bounds violations, and goaltending violations. If a coach wins the challenge, they get one more challenge to use during the game.
- Player Empowerment – BIG3 players are encouraged by management to be themselves and let their personalities shine on the court and on social media. Players serve as team General Managers in charge of drafting, trades, lineups along with coaching staff.
- League Mental Health Policy – The BIG3 has a robust policy supporting our players, coaches, and staff in many situations.
- CBD – The BIG3 encourages player choice in the use of CBD for recovery.
Since its inception, the BIG3 has brought a fast-paced, physical, competitive, and fun environment to the court. League stars include the decorated Joe Johnson, Amar’e Stoudemire, Mike Bibby, Josh Smith, Stephen Jackson, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Rashard Lewis, and more. The coaching ranks are filled with legends like Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Charles Oakley, George Gervin, Kenyon Martin, Gary Payton, and the last two Coach of the Year winners, Lisa Leslie and Nancy Lieberman.