Big3 introduces 'new global sport' Fireball3, lowers minimum age

Liz Roscher
DALLAS, TEXAS - AUGUST 17: BIG3 founder Ice Cube reacts during week nine of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at American Airlines Center on August 17, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/BIG3 via Getty Images)
Big3 founder Ice Cube announced some fun changes to the league. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/BIG3 via Getty Images)

The Big3 is making some big changes. On Wednesday the three-on-three league announced the official name of the “new global sport” they’ve been playing since the league was founded three years ago. The name is Fireball3, and it reflects just how different the Big3 version of three-on-three is from everything else.

“There are a lot of sports out there that require similar skill sets, like MMA and boxing, football and rugby, baseball and cricket,” Big3 co-founder Ice Cube said in a news release. “Our fans let us know that we were playing something extremely unique, Fireball3, which is nothing like the typical three-on-three FIBA game coming to the Olympics.”

Ice Cube emphasized that the need for Fireball3 to continue to evolve and innovate is one of the reasons the league decided to give its game a name. With rules like a 4-point shot and a 14-second shot clock, it didn’t want fans confusing it with traditional three-on-three (or misinterpreting the different rules as disrespecting the NBA), and they want to make it clear that it’s a different sport.

Big3 is also making a number of other major changes that it hopes will further improve the game and the experience for fans, and the biggest among them is the lowering of the minimum age from 27 to 22.

"I think lowering the age does erase the stigma [of this being a retirement league]," Ice Cube told ESPN. "It might've kept people from playing in the Big3 because they don't want to seem like they're done.”

Big3 will now also hold open tryouts for all athletes, removing the previous restrictions on the kind of experience an athlete needed to try out. The league hopes to attract the best athletes in the world, regardless of sporting experience, and so professional basketball experience is no longer required. Ice Cube told ESPN that he’s hopeful that NFL players will try out, and maybe even musicians like J. Cole.

There will also be a new on-court rule enacted this season, called “Bring the Fire.” Once per half a team has the ability to challenge a foul call, and the winner of that challenge is determined by a one-on-one possession. Sort of like a mini-game to decide whether the foul call should stand. Big3 will also start using an all-red ball that is appropriately named the Fireball.

The league is also aiming to be on the forefront of social issues by encouraging player empowerment, having a “robust” mental health policy, and allowing the use of CBD for recovery.

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