This week (October 14), it was announced that the BIG3 basketball league has been certified as a Black-owned and operated business by ByBlack and US Black Chambers, Inc. The announcement makes the BIG3, an innovative 3-on-3 competition, the first and only sports league to receive such official acknowledgment.
The league was launched back in 2017 by rapper, actor and entrepreneur Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. In August, the league wrapped up its fifth season and recently began selling ownership-like franchise stakes powered by blockchain technology. Snoop Dogg, Ken Howery, Gary Vaynerchuk and DeGods are among some notable people who have bought teams.
“Myself and the entire league are honored to be officially certified by ByBlack and the US Black Chambers. 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. 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.” Ice Cube said when speaking on the situation.
Although there are several athletes and businessmen and businesswomen who own major investment stakes in individual franchises, there are no professional sports leagues with operational structures resembling the BIG3 and its Ice Cube-led group of equity partners. This is due in fact to nearly all sports leagues being consortiums in which individual franchise owners hold an equal portion in the league itself. This is the prevailing model we see in all four major sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL).
ByBlack is a nonprofit, organization that aims to develop solutions “to the generational problems of the Black economic agenda.” The organization’s goal is to create economic opportunities for Black people from within its network.
“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. 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,” said Ron Busby Sr., CEO and President of USBC.
Through his Contract with Black America Institute, Ice Cube struck a deal with the NFL to further the growth and empowerment of Black-owned business earlier this year. As part of the deal, the two organizations will focus on helping Black founders build lasting equity in the finance and technology industries, and the BIG3 has already begun making waves with regards to the latter. Recently, the BIG3 has started using Heat Vision which is a specialized 3-on-3 shot tracking software powered by Microsoft Azure and Noah Basketball Analytics. It will feature significantly throughout the course of the 2023 BIG3 season that tips off next summer and will allow players to have access to real-time data on every single shot’s arc, rotation, and depth.
Congrats to Ice Cube on this major move!