Professional sports leagues have no idea when they’ll resume play amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the three-on-three basketball league the Big3 is still making plans for the league’s fourth season, a preseason tournament, and also a reality show, as USA Today reports.
The league, which was co-founded by rapper/actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz, partnered with media production company Endemal, who produced the hit reality show Big Brother, to create a quarantined reality show as well as a three-week preseason tournament, which starts the first week of May.
The 3-on-3 basketball league also plans to start the fourth season of its 12-team league in Memphis on June 20. “We can’t control what happens with the virus. Nobody can control it,” Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz told USA Today. “If that has to be pushed back a week or two, that’s possible. But we feel pretty good about being able to be up and running in May.”
Big3 and Endemal gave created strict guidelines to ensure that the event happens without exposing participants to COVID-19. The participating 16 players will first be tested for the virus, and will only be cleared should they test negative. They will also stay at a designated house located in Los Angeles that Kwatinetz said is currently being built. The tournament will take place behind closed doors at a venue that has yet to be determined.
“No one is allowed to leave the quarantine area. That’s part of what keeps the safety and health of the players,” Kwatinetz said. “It also dovetails with what makes ‘Big Brother’ so great. You have a group of 16 people locked in a house together and the social dynamics that come out of that. One minute, you’re hanging out with someone in the house. That night you have to play them. Our games are very physical and very competitive. Then you’re back in the house with the same people. So it definitely lends itself to some drama.”
According to Kwatinez, he and Ice Cube (the Big3’s other co-founder) are “probably just a few days away” from finalizing various logistics to ensure the tournament is broadcast internationally. Kwatinez said that he has sparked interest “far in excess” for the prospective 16 basketball players. Former NBA players will represent most of that field. However, Kwatinez said that he wants to “include at least one or two of the best female players.” The WNBA’s schedule will affect that. The WNBA is virtually holding a draft on April 17 and said that it will remain on the league’s schedule with the beginning of training camp (April 26). The women’s league’s season opener is currently scheduled for May 15. However, the WNBA’s itinerary might change, depending on if it’s safe to resume business.