Former NBA player Nick Young says that Ice Cube’s BIG3 league failed in keeping up with its payment schedule for players during its most recent season. During an interview with DJ Vlad, the Cali native shared insight into his BIG3 experience, which the 37-year-old joined under the Gilbert Arenas-led Enemies franchise in 2021.
“I think they need to get back to traveling to all different cities like they was,” the shooting guard said when asked of his time with the league. “‘Cause this past year, it felt like things weren’t ran well ’cause sometimes we ain’t get our money. Things got cancelled. Games got cancelled in the middle of the season. They didn’t know if they was gonna have a season. It was a lot, it was a lot this year.”
The NBA champion expounded further, adding “I feel like they need to get the right investments and really organize it better because this year in the middle of the season, the season was about to be over ’cause they didn’t have the money or something like that.” He also noted that the salaries the BIG3 provides are far beneath standard payouts from international leagues.
“Overseas money is more. Way more,” Young notes, before sharing some of the finer qualities of the BIG3, particularly being an option for players looking to stay close to home and their families instead of traveling overseas to play. “For me, the BIG3 is just to get out the house, to hang with your friends and play the game a little bit. And it’s only on the weekends, [it’s] not too much strain on your body. You don’t have to go to China or Russia and deal with all that. You still get to be with your family during the week and then you leave on the weekend. That’s the fun part.”
The former first-round NBA Draft pick also lists staying in “good hotels” and receiving per diem as additional perks of signing on with BIG3, which he says he joined at the behest of former Washington Wizards teammate and BIG3 coach, Arenas.
“Yeah, he called me and said, ‘I need you, Nick,'” the jovial baller recalls. “‘I need you. They said I’m a coach now, I need you on my team.'”
Earlier this month, Ice Cube expressed BIG3’s lack of support from entities such as ESPN and the NBA, accusing both of attempting to “destroy” the league behind closed doors. “We definitely need everybody’s support,” Cube wrote on social media in response to BIG3 coach and All The Smoke podcast cohost Stephen Jackson. “The @nba and @espn are doing everything in their powers to ignore or destroy @thebig3.”
BIG3 recently completed its fifth season, with the Stephen Jackson-coached Team Trilogy defeating Team Power, led by head coach and Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman. In 2019, the BIG3 won a $21M defamation lawsuit against Champions Basketball League.
Watch Nick Young’s interview where he speaks on BIG3 below.