BIG3 and 90 Plus Group, led by China Chairman Richard Chiang, announced this week a partnership that will bring the world’s premier professional 3-on-3 basketball league to China in late 2019. The sports promotion company, which has introduced multiple, international players and basketball events to China, will support the league’s first-ever exhibition series in market.
The partnership represents a major step for BIG3—founded by producer, actor and music legend Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz—which aims to build its global presence in the coming years. Earlier this week, BIG3 executives, coaches, and players including Ice Cube, CEO Amit Bajaj, Commissioner Clyde Drexler, Ghost Coach George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin and Ball Hogs’ Co-Captain DeShawn Stevenson joined Chiang and more than 100 members of the Chinese media in Shenzhen to commemorate the announcement and upcoming tour.
Entering its third season, the league continues to grow in the U.S., with a recently announced CBS Sports broadcast deal and major partnerships with adidas, cbdMD, and Toyota, and an expansion from eight to 12 teams.
“Since our debut season, BIG3 has quickly developed into the premier 3×3 league in the world,” said Ice Cube. “Our game travels well, with globally recognized players competing at the highest level. We’re eager to make an impact in China and expand the excitement around the game.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the BIG3 and showcase some of the world’s best talent to our Chinese fans, who are among the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in the world,” said Chiang. “China is the perfect place to launch BIG3’s global platform and we look forward to continuing and building the relationship.”
China is more than familiar with the game of basketball and elite international talent. Recent figures show an estimated 300 million people in the country play the game in some form, making it the nation’s No. 1 team sport. Similarly, consumption of the game continues to expand with linear and digital viewership and overall engagement at record levels. Several current and past BIG3 players—including the Power’s Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen, Enemies’ Gilbert Arenas, Aliens’ Greg Oden and Tri-State’s Bonzi Wells—have contributed to China’s enthusiasm, with stints amid the country’s professional ranks. The Enemies’ Lamar Odom will join this list following the upcoming BIG3 season.
During the offseason, BIG3 added new top tier players to the league including Jason Terry, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Kendrick Perkins, Shannon Brown, Gilbert Arenas, Al Jefferson, Lamar Odom, Steve Blake, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Carlos Arroyo, Dusan Bulut, Shannon Brown, Perry Jones III and more.
Star players returning this year include Amar’e Stoudemire, Drew Gooden, Nate Robinson, Stephen Jackson, Carlos Boozer, Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen, Rashard Lewis, Metta World Peace, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Corey Maggette, Cuttino Mobley, Jermaine O’Neal, Brian Scalabrine and many more.
Teams will be coached by some of the top legends in the game, including Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving, Gary Payton, Nancy Lieberman, Rick Barry, Lisa Leslie, andGeorge ‘The Iceman’ Gervin.
In addition to Ice Cube and Kwatinetz, the league is guided by Chairman Amy Trask, CEO Amit Bajaj and Commissioner Clyde Drexler
Left to right: Ghost Coach George Gervin, BIG3 Founder Ice Cube, 90 Plus Group China Chairman Richard Chiang, BIG3 Commissioner Clyde Drexler and 90 Plus USA CEO Mitch Richmond
BIG3 – the professional 3-on-3 basketball league founded by producer, actor, and music legend Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz – announced additional dates to round out the league’s 11 week season across 18 cities: Salt Lake City July 27, Milwaukee August 4, Miami August 10, and New Orleans for the playoffs August 25.