Rapper and entrepreneur Ice Cube announced a major stride forward for the BIG3 basketball league that he co-founded in 2017.
The league, which features 3-on-3 matches between former NBA stars and international standouts, was certified as a Black-owned and operated business by the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. and ByBlack, making it the first and only professional sports league to receive the certification, an Oct. 14 BIG3 statement said.
“From day one, the league has been dedicated to providing opportunities for Black players, fans, investors, and partners, and we are proud to be a part of a nationwide network of Black business owners,” the Friday actor stated. “Supporting Black enterprise is a lifelong passion of mine and the BIG3 will continue to build upon its successes and lift up other Black entrepreneurs.”
BIG3 launched its fifth season in June. Unlike NBA games, BIG3 matches are half-court competitions in which the teams compete to reach 50 points and must win by at least two points with a 14-second shot clock.
The league has focused on innovation, including the introduction of its unique Forever Experience Action Tokens (FEATs). It leverages blockchain technology to sell NFTs (non fungible tokens) to fans, offering ownership-like benefits and real-world experiences.
Cube, who serves as the league's CEO, co-founded BIG3 with entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. According to Boardroom, several Black athletes and businesspeople have investment stakes in professional sports franchises, but almost all sports leagues are consortiums in which franchise owners hold an equal stake in the league.
“USBC is energized by the BIG3 basketball league becoming a certified ByBlack business. This is the first step of what we deem to be a fruitful partnership, with Ice Cube’s commitment to helping other Black-owned businesses get ByBlack certified,” said Ron Busby Sr., president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
Busby continued: “We applaud Ice Cube for leading the way in this initiative and it is our goal to continue this partnership by collaborating with Ice Cube, BIG3, and other Black-owned businesses in the sports and entertainment industry.”