When the inaugural BIG3 schedule was released this spring, you can be sure league co-founder Ice Cube had Aug. 13 circled on the calendar. After traveling all over the country through the first seven weeks of the season, the regular season concludes Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It might as well be Cube’s back yard.
“I’m excited about finally being home,” he said. “Coming to the Staples Center is symbolic for me, because this is where I’ve seen the Lakers win championships. And when I envisioned the BIG3, I envisioned it to be in places like the Staples Center.”
Growing up in Compton, Cube of course was a die-hard Lakers fan. Still is.
“I got the BIG3, but I’m still the biggest Laker fan out here,” Cube told Good Day LA. “I love my Lakers.”
After all, the whole idea behind starting the BIG3 began after Cube watched his favorite player, Kobe Bryant, drain 60 points in his Lakers career finale. So it’s safe to say Los Angeles and the Staples Center are already a big part of the BIG3 story.
Of course, Los Angeles is a big part of the basketball story in general. Since moving to LA in 1961, the Lakers have won 11 NBA championships. From Kobe and Shaq to Magic and Kareem to Wilt, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, the bar for LA basketball has always been set extremely high.
In addition to Cube, a trio of BIG3 players were born in the area: Ball Hogs captain Brian Scalabrine (Long Beach), Ball Hogs co-captain Josh Childress (Harbor City) and Tri-State’s Lou Amundson (Ventura). For what it’s worth, Amundson’s Tri-State teammate Dominic McGuire grew up down the road in San Diego.
Being the second-largest market in the U.S. and featuring a booming AAU community, it’s easy to understand how the area can produce so many big-time ballers.
In recent seasons, there have been around 20 NBA players born in the greater Los Angeles area, including a trio from Ice Cube’s hometown of Compton – DeMar DeRozan, Tayshaun Prince and Brandon Jennings.
Other notable NBA players, past and present, who were born in Los Angeles include: