Jeff Kwatinetz Rumors
After a one-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the BIG3 — the popular 3-on-3 basketball league founded by hip-hop icon Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz — will tip off its 2021 season on July 10, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The fourth season of BIG3 action will be a 10-week campaign with games played at two locations: Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and at Xavier University, an HBCU in New Orleans, sources said. CBS will return as the broadcast partner and each contest will be aired live, sources said.
After graduating from Syracuse University in 1995, Chris Hannan spent 24 years working his way up in the sports industry. He became an executive at Fox Sports and then Endeavor, the major agency. But two years ago, Hannan accepted a role as chief marketing officer for Hemp Hydrate, a startup that sells hemp-infused water and other products. He enjoyed his time there, although he missed being in a sports environment. Now, he is in a position that marries his experience in marketing, media, sports and upstart companies. Hannan recently was named chief executive of the BIG3, a three-on-three, halfcourt basketball league featuring numerous former NBA players. The league was founded in 2017 by famous rapper/actor/entrepreneur Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz, a Harvard Law School graduate and veteran music and entertainment executive. Kwatinetz, the former CEO whom Hannan replaced, will remain heavily involved.
Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz previously told USA TODAY Sports that he and Ice Cube, the other Big3 co-founder and hip hop mogul, remained flexible on when to launch operations both because of their extensive planning and to account for public safety. “Ice Cube and I are in the business of entertaining people,” Kwatinetz said in late March. “In times like this, they need entertainment. We have to make sure it’s safe and that the basketball is credible and really competitive. We feel like we’re able to do that.”
Kwatinetz said that he and Ice Cube, the other Big3 co-founder and hip hop mogul, are “probably just a few days away” from finalizing various logistics to ensure the tournament is broadcast globally. That includes resuming talks with potential broadcast partners, calculating the show’s budget and the tournament’s rules and schedule. Kwatinetz said he has fielded interest “far in excess” for the potential 16 players. Former NBA players will mostly represent that field, but Kwatinetz said he wants to “include at least one or two of the best female players.” Part of that hinges on the WNBA schedule. It will hold a virtual draft on April 17 and said it remains on schedule with the beginning of training camp (April 26) and the season opener (May 15). The WNBA might change its itinerary, though, depending on if it is considered safe to resume business.
None of the professional sports leagues have any certainty on when they can resume play. Not with the coronavirus outbreak growing by the day. That has not inhibited the Big3, however, from making plans for its fourth season, a pre-season tournament and even a reality show. The 3-on-3 basketball league partnered with media production company Endemal, which has produced the highly-rated reality show “Big Brother,” to create a quarantined reality show and a three-week pre-season tournament starting the first week of May. Big3 also plans to open its fourth season of its 12-team league on June 20 in Memphis. “We can’t control what happens with the virus. Nobody can control it,” Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz told USA TODAY Sports. “If that has to be pushed back a week or two, that’s possible. But we feel pretty good about being able to be up and running in May.”
The founders of the league — hip-hop icon and actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz — have been having ongoing conversations with multiple TV networks since late last week to broadcast the tournament, which is expected to also garner international interest, sources said.
The preseason tournament will feature 16 to 22 players from The Big3 who are negative for the coronavirus, and they will be quarantined in Los Angeles, sources said. Former NBA standouts such as Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph and Greg Oden could participate in the tournament, but many details need to be worked out.