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There’s big news for sports enthusiasts, Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball organization has officially been declared a Black-owned sports franchise. The innovative 3-on-3 competition is now the first and only professional sports league to receive this official acknowledgment.
The rapper, actor turned entrepreneur originally launched the BIG3 back in 2017 alongside entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. The league finished its fifth season earlier this year and has started selling ownership-like franchise stakes powered by blockchain technology. Ice Cube released a statement saying, “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.”
Ice Cube also noted that “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.” Individuals who have already purchased their own teams include rap legend Snoop Dogg and Belarusian-American entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk.
Additional owners include Ken Howery, the co-founder of PayPal and a former U.S. Ambassador as well as DeGods, an NFT community. Ownership stakes were made available through a layered release of NFTs that worked on a tier-based system.
The two organizations that provided the certification, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc and ByBlack, aim to encourage Black ownership. The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc also referred to as the “National Voice of Black Businesses,” provides guidance on economic empowerment for business owners of color. This is done by creating resources and initiatives to support a network of African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations.
According to ByBlack, the nonprofit is aimed at creating “meaningful economic opportunities for Black people through the Black businesses in our communities.” The organization operates out of a variety of cities including Tulsa, Orlando, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and more.
In addition to the certification, the BIG3 also announced that CBS is returning as the league’s primary broadcast partner for the sixth season. CBS is expected to air more than 20 hours of live weekend games when the league returns in the summer of 2023.