The NBA may be leading the way in progressive leagues, but don’t let that stop you from realizing they’re a business first and foremost.
The Association is no stranger to competition from around the world, but it’s the one brewing in its own proverbial backyard that may have them shook.
According to TMZ, the Big3 is alleging that the NBA has prevented sponsors from working with them as well as other potential partners, which would hinder the young league’s growth.
Big3 has only been around since 2017, when Cube and business partner Jeff Kwatinetz joined forces to create a lucrative outlet composed mainly of international players and retired NBA players.
Many former NBA players are deeply invested and even coach some of the Big3’s 12 teams, including Rick Mahorn, Gary Payton, Gilbert Arena, Stephen Jackson and Lisa Leslie. The championship trophy is even named after legend Julius Erving, and Clyde Drexler has served as the league commissioner since 2018.
Support from big names doesn’t stop there, as adidas entered a three-year partnership to deliver fans with exclusive co-branded merch.
“Ice Cube has that same creator mindset we have at adidas. He’s challenged the status quo to do extraordinary things throughout his career,” said adidas’ North American President, Mark King, in 2018. “No other league blends sport and culture the way BIG3 does. We’re incredibly excited to partner with Ice Cube, Clyde, and Jeff and help build on the league’s vision to make the BIG3 a global brand.”
The 3-on-3 league has even launched Young3, a youth community outreach division that holds events around the country in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The Big3 has also had no problem getting more eyes on its games, adding a Fox Sports exec to its C-suite and eventually signing a broadcast deal with CBS Sports.
The league hasn’t even been around 10 years, and with its immense growth, it makes sense that it’d be at odds with the NBA.
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