NBA Coronavirus Outbreak: BIG3 Basketball League Cancels Season And Aims For 2021 Return

NBA Coronavirus Outbreak: BIG3 Basketball League Cancels Season And Aims For 2021 Return

BIG3 cancels season due to global pandemic

Another world-renowned basketball league is cancelling its season in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The BIG3 tournament, a 3-on-3 basketball competition led by American rapper Ice Cube, has officially released a statement saying that they have formally cancelled the 2020 season and plans to return to full activity next year.

Ice Cube himself told basketball fans that a “long list of obstacles” made it very difficult for the BIG3 organizers to hold the tournament this year. In the official statement, they made it known that there were plans to hold the whole competition in a single location. But ultimately, the decision boiled down to the fact that it is not possible to have a live audience on the games and that could cripple BIG3’s resources.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 world pandemic and its uncontrollable nature, the BIG3 announced today season four will return in Summer 2021. The BIG3 always wants to deliver the best for our fans under safe conditions. Due to a confluence of  issues including safety, uncertainty of testing, changing government regulations, insurance and liability issues, sponsor and advertiser challenges of their own, and the changing nature of the virus itself, the decision was made to focus on a great return in 2021.
Ultimately, we need the fan experience and the games themselves to be great. While other leagues have more immediate financial considerations, as a rising league, we need to put the fan experience above all and ensure each season is better than the one before. While we investigated many alternative scenarios, such as playing at a single location like a Los Angeles studio sound stage, the extension of the California stay at home order, California’s constant confusion and changing of the rules when combined with the multiple other issues listed above led to us to determining these scenarios were not feasible.”

The BIG3 tournament was founded by Ice Cube and entertainment figure Jeff Kwatinetz in 2017. It has since completed three seasons, and now has 12 squads in its disposal. Roger Mason Jr, a former NBA vet, was the league’s first commissioner. However, Mason was fired the next year for alleged corruption practices, leading to the installment of former Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Clyde Drexler as new commissioner.

The tournament, which is composed of ex-pro basketball players, has garnered incredible star credibility. Among its current coaches are Gary Payton, Michael Cooper, Nate Archibald, Charles Oakley, Rick Barry, George Gervin, Julius Erving and Lisa Leslie. Tons of former All-Stars and ex-NBA vets also took their talents to the BIG3. The famed list includes Allen Iverson, Gilbert Arenas, Corey Maggette, Cuttino Mobley, Ricky Davis, Joe Johnson, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Chris Andersen and Josh Smith.

In the same press release, Ice Cube relayed his own sentiments on the cancellation while reiterating that fan experience is the most important goal of the 3-on-3 tournament.

“We tried everything in our power to give our fans a nice 2020 season but with a long list of obstacles, we decided to shift our focus to having a great 2021 season with our fans in the stands. Our goal from day one has always been to provide a remarkable experience full of top-level competition and entertainment. With the creation of BIG3: Not in My House and more time to prepare for the season, we will definitely come back with the fire.”

The 3x3 type of basketball has risen to prominence these days as FIBA has been holding official half-court tournaments. It is also made known that the Olympics will include 3x3 as an official sport.

Cavaliers forward pins hopes on league’s heightened precautions

At the age of 16, Larry Nance Jr was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an ailment where healthy cells are defenceless and are attacked by the immune system. While Nance has indeed overcome the ailment, it doesn’t mean that his immune system is not affected. The Cleveland Cavaliers combo big man goes through a therapy program just so he could continue his basketball career.

Now that the league is already taking steps towards potentially resuming the season two or three months from now, Nance is pinning his hopes that the NBA will take a closer look at players like him who have have “preexisting” health conditions and make exemptions for them.

In a column written by ESPN Senior Writer Brian Windhorst, Nance emphasized that there are players like him who will be more vulnerable to the virus. The 27-year old hooper hopes that the league allows players with pre-existing health conditions to not come back even if the games resume.

"I would hope there would be an understanding [from the league] if someone didn't feel comfortable coming back that'd you get a pass. Just because you may look like the picture of health, some people have issues you can't see. We're young and you know the kind of shape players are in, you'd like to think [the virus] wouldn't be what it could be for others. But you don't know. I'm still scared and don't want to get it.
I'm paying super close attention to everything that is going on. I was watching the German soccer league over the weekend and seeing how the players were interacting with each other and still seeing them make a lot of contact. I can't even imagine being on one of those calls trying to hash this out. There's so many ways to spread this."

Nance is in his fifth year in the league. He is norming averages of 10.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per contest this season. The 6-foot-9 athletic power forward was drafted 27th overall in the 2015 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Important Quotes Around the League:

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James on giving up on the season: (via the Uninterrupted)

“Definitely not giving up on the season. Not only myself and my teammates, the Lakers organization, we want to play. There’s a lot of players that I know personally that want to play. And obviously, we don’t ever want to jeopardize the health of any of  our players or any of the players’ families and so on and so on. This is a pandemic that we have no idea [about]. We can’t control it.”

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on coaching his players during this pandemic: (via LA Times’ Andrew Greif)

“This has been tough for everybody, let’s make that clear. For me in this period, my job has been two-fold. One has been to communicate with my players so I try to talk with them as much as I can. I try to have my staff talk to them as much as they can. We’re doing Zoom calls, we’re doing Zoom workouts now where every day our strength coach and our trainers get on with our players; we do groups of five, so three times a   day, where they’re working out. They got their heart monitors on the screen. We’re checking their weight.”

Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star and NBPA President Chris Paul on the players’ stance on resuming the season: (via The Jump podcast)

"Obviously we want to play. Oh man, we want to play. We want to play bad. I think that's the consensus among the guys around the league. We want it to be obviously as safe as possible, but the biggest thing is, we miss the game.
I think it's a combination of a lot of things, but at the end of the day, no one expected this and knew that this was coming. So what is normal now? So I think that's what we're trying to figure out, what it looks like, so until we find those answers and we can come up with an actual plan, right now it's basically sit and wait. The virus is in control."

A sports aficionado ever since he first held a basketball, Paul was a student athlete in school and college. Today, he teaches English in university by day and a freelance sportswriter by night.

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