It seems as though an earlier report stating former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was set to become a new investor in Ice Cube’s fledgling BIG3 basketball league turned out to be false. Kaepernick’s representatives said it’s not true and the BIG3 may be in trouble.
“It’s just not true,” a representative for Kaepernick said early Thursday.
According to those reports, the BIG3 is on the verge of shutdown and Kaepernick’s investment was supposed to allow the league to continue operations.
A representative for Colin Kaepernick tells The Athletic that the former NFL QB is not investing in Ice Cube’s BIG3, despite sources close to the league saying otherwise.@ShamsCharania with the latest on the uncertainty surrounding the BIG3: https://t.co/Qwn3J9TWSf https://t.co/fhSzpQuTBL
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 7, 2022
So why the confusion in the reporting?
There likely had to have been conversations between both sides about an investment. Why would a source just make that up out of nowhere? Why would a respected news breaker like Shams Charania report it without confirmation?
This is a pretty big story, so the original report of the investment had to have some verification. Why didn’t Kaep say anything? Why was it left to a statement from his representative?
Maybe there was no official deal on paper. Maybe it was just a discussion.
Did Kaepernick, who is a committed social justice advocate, get nervous because of Ice Cube taking a meting with the Donald Trump campaign to discuss his Contract With Black America?
“I didn’t run to go work with any campaign. Both campaigns contacted me,” Cube said in 2020. “Both campaigns wanted to talk to me about the Contract with Black America. One campaign said, ‘We love what you have, but let’s really dig into after the election.’ And one campaign said ‘We love what you have, do you mind talking to us about it?’ And that’s what I did, so I didn’t run to nobody.”
It’s not a wild assumption. Kaepernick’s brand of activism has to carefully select where it’s allied and partnered.
The BIG3 basketball league started by Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz in 2017 is a 3-on-3, half-court basketball league that is player centric. It features innovations like the 4-point shot, with three 4-point circles beyond the 3-point line. The goal was to have a summer basketball league with some of the greatest players ever, with an emphasis on entertainment.
After initial excitement in the summer of 2017, the league has failed to maintain consistent interest. One of the biggest issues is the lack of star power. Basketball legend Allen Iverson played in a handful of games that first year but never committed to a long-term run.
The biggest names playing this season are Michael Beasley, Joe Johnson, Rashard Lewis, Jason Richardson, and Nick Young.
Most players that are Hall of Fame level/perennial all-stars have banked a ton of money in their careers, so the money wouldn’t be a reason to play in the BIG3. Also, players of that caliber played 12+ seasons and logged a ton of minutes. They’re unlikely to want to dial it up for competitive basketball, outside of some occasional pickup.
Earlier this year, Ice Cube announced ownership opportunities were available for fans of the BIG3. Using blockchain technology, ownership stakes in the league’s 12 teams are available in 1,000 editions — 25 Fire priced at $25,000 each, and 975 Gold priced at $5,000 each.
Benefits would include involvement in managing the teams and participation in strategy calls with coaches and captains. The ownership stake would be in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT) which has a secondary market where they can be bought and sold.
Given the league’s situation and reporting, this looks like an attempt at cash infusion. Will the BIG3 survive? Stay tuned.