After pulling solid ratings for the inaugural season of Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league, Fox Sports is expanding its coverage. Fox announced last fall that it would air this summer’s games live instead of on tape delay, and on Monday the network revealed it will broadcast the league’s draft April 12 on FS1.
Though the draft for a three-on-three league made up of forgotten former NBAers may not sound like captivating television, the names could take you down memory lane. Via a Fox Sports release:
The 2018 BIG3 Draft pool comprises players from the 2017 inaugural BIG3 season and newly signed players, including Jerome Williams, Lee Nailon, Marcus Banks, Mo Evans, Al Thornton, DeShawn Stevenson, Joe Smith, Brian Cook, Moochie Norris, Mike James, Mike Sweetney, Larry Hughes, Kendall Gill, Xavier Silas, Andre Owens, Jannero Pargo, Keith Bogans, Tyrus Thomas, Quentin Richardson, Eddy Curry, Greg Oden, Smush Parker, Morris Peterson and Jonathan Bender.
With last year’s BIG3 teams retaining most of their rosters, more than 100 players will compete for 19 spots, according to a statement from Ice Cube. The league will host a player combine on April 11, the day before the draft, at which prospective players can impress BIG3 coaches.
In addition to the players above, BIG3’s second season will feature some big-name captains, with Ron Artest, Amar’e Stoudemire, Nate Robinson, Baron Davis, Carlos Boozer and Drew Gooden joining the already star-studded ranks.
By agreeing to televise the BIG3 draft, Fox signals that it considers the league more than just filler content to eat hours during the slow summer months. It’s one thing to air games in June and July. It’s another to air a draft in April.
One thing Fox has going for it here is that drafts are inherently fun. That’s why the NBA and NFL drafts have become marquee events and why basketball fans clamored to see the NBA All-Star draft broadcast live. And sure Smush Parker and DeShawn Stevenson aren’t exactly Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis, but there’s still some intrigue in seeing who will be picked first and what former teammates will reunite.
The draft will air on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET on April 12. BIG3’s 10-week season will begin June 22 in Houston.