Ice Cube’s Big3 certified as first Black-owned professional sports league

Francis Akhalbey October 17, 2022
The Big3 basketball league was launched in 2017 -- Photo via Big3

The Big3 basketball league in a statement on Friday announced that ByBlack and the US Black Chambers have officially certified it as the first Black-owned professional sports league. Friday’s announcement comes after ByBlack and the US Black Chambers officially acknowledged Big 3 as a Black-owned and operated business.

The fast-rising basketball league was launched by Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz in 2017. The league ended its fifth season this year, and it recently started selling franchise stakes that are ownership-like, the league said. The stakes are being sold through blockchain technology. And popular team owners include Snoop Dogg and Ken Howery, Gary Vaynerchuk, and DeGods.

“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,” Ice Cube said about the certification.

“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.”

Big3 said that though many people have purchased huge 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.”

The statement added: “The main reason for this is simple — nearly all sports leagues are consortiums in which individual franchise owners hold an equal portion in the league itself. This is the prevailing model we see in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL.”

ByBlack is a non-profit organization, and its mission is to come up with solutions “to the generational problems of the Black economic agenda.” The organization also aims to provide economic opportunities for Black people in its circle. 

“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,” CEO and President of USBC Ron Busby Sr. said.

The announcement also comes after Ice Cube’s Contract with Black America Institute and the NFL announced a partnership intended to augment the growth and support of Black businesses, Big3 said. 

Per the details of the deal, the rapper and actor’s organization and the NFL will “focus on helping Black founders build lasting equity in the finance and technology industries.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 17, 2022


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