Caitlin Clark BIG3 offer, explained: Why Ice Cube extended $5 million overture to Iowa star

The path forward for Caitlin Clark is set. Once Iowa’s season ends — which Clark is hoping won’t be until the national championship game — the Hawkeyes star will await her anticipated selection by the Indiana Fever in April’s WNBA Draft.

Is it that simple, though? Ice Cube wants to give Clark something to think about. The rapper-turned-basketball commissioner offered Clark a lucrative deal to join the BIG3 basketball league he founded in 2017.

Could Clark actually suit up in the BIG3, or is Ice Cube just looking to generate headlines with the offer?

Here’s what you need to know about Caitlin Clark’s BIG3 offer and what it means. 

MORE: Caitlin Clark, JuJu Watkins headline Sporting News Women’s All-America team

Caitlin Clark BIG3 offer, explained

Ice Cube confirmed on Wednesday that the BIG3 offered Clark $5 million to join the league, with TMZ reporting she would only need to play 10 games — eight regular season games and two playoff games.

“BIG3 made a historic offer to Caitlin Clark. Why wouldn’t we? Caitlin is a generational athlete who can achieve tremendous success in the BIG3,” Ice Cube tweeted Wednesday, adding that he didn’t intend for the offer to become public while Clark was still playing in the NCAA Tournament.

“America’s women athletes should not be forced to spend their off seasons playing in often dismal and dubious foreign countries just to make ends meet,” Ice Cube said, referencing the reality that many WNBA players choose to play internationally during the offseason because of lower WNBA salaries. That dynamic gained attention when Brittney Griner was arrested while playing in the Russian Premier League in 2022. 

Ice Cube added that female athletes should have more options “at a time when American pro sports leagues are being infiltrated by autocratic, anti-women regimes such as Qatar.”

Of course, adding Clark to the BIG3 would also give the league a spark that it could very much use as it looks to stay afloat. The league similarly convinced Celtics star Jaylen Brown to play in its All-Star Game last season, making Brown the first active NBA player to appear in a BIG3 game. 

MORE: How Iowa survived NCAA Tournament scare from West Virginia

Would Clark be forced to choose between the WNBA and the BIG3? Not necessarily, unless the WNBA comes forward with a decision that prevents it. A limited BIG3 schedule would only have minor interference with Clark’s WNBA schedule, though there is no indication she is considering that kind of dynamic. 

Here are the details about the BIG3 and a look at whether Clark could actually accept the offer.

What is the BIG3?

The BIG3 is a basketball league founded by rapper and actor Ice Cube in 2017. The league separates itself from most others by playing 3-on-3 basketball, along with various different rules that aren’t in place at the NBA or college level. 

The BIG3 began with eight teams when it launched and now has 12 teams, all of which have former NBA players on their rosters. Captains from the 2023 season included Joe Johnson, Jason Richardson, Nick Young, Gerald Green, and Michael Beasley. The BIG3 also features some big-name coaches, including Gilbert Arenas, Gary Payton, Julius Erving, and Stephen Jackson.

As Ice Cube mentioned, women already have some involvement in the BIG3, with former WNBA stars Nancy Lieberman and Lisa Leslie both active head coaches. Clark, however, would be the league’s first female player if she accepted the offer.

Will Caitlin Clark play in the BIG3?

There is no indication Clark is considering accepting the BIG3’s offer, and it’s not entirely clear whether the WNBA would allow her to play in both leagues regardless.

A $5 million offer is worth substantially more than what Clark is set to make in her WNBA rookie season. Clark is in line to make just over $76,000 as a rookie if she is selected first overall as expected, which is only a fraction of the BIG3’s offer.

At the same time, Clark will still be able to make plenty of money through her numerous endorsement deals. That might not make the hassle of juggling the BIG3 with the WNBA worthwhile, if it is even a consideration for Clark.

Clark has not yet commented publicly about the BIG3’s offer.

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