The Big3 plans to launch a quarantined, reality show-style three-on-three tournament in April to help curb the nation’s appetite for basketball in the aftermath of the coronavirus sports hiatus, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
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.
To assure the league is operating under safe conditions, players will be quarantined in a large home provided by the league, sources said. A basketball court/facility will be built on site. If a player breaks quarantine at any point during the tournament, he would be eliminated and removed from the premises, sources said.
The games and the players’ daily lives will be captured on camera for added drama and storylines. The production crew would be stationed nearby but offsite from the players.
There would be seven rounds of games, with teammates reshuffling after the first round. When a player accumulates three losses, he is eliminated. Cash prizes totaling millions of dollars will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place individual winners.
“As long as we can protect the players, which we will do through proper testing and quarantine, Ice cube and I feel we can give fans some safe, entertaining brand of basketball to get everyone through this pandemic,” Kwatinetz told Yahoo Sports. “Cube and I have been in the entertainment business for 30 years. This is our job. People want to be entertained with all we’re going through and enjoy our sports. We think this will help.”
The Big3’s 2020 season is set to kick off on June 20 in Memphis until further notice.
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