Shaq Invited to Play in Big 3

March 25, 2024

OK, raise your hands… How many of us would like to see our man Shaq back in uniform again, playing some (semi) serious hoops? Yeah, we thought so. We do, too. 

Nothing is for sure yet, but the idea is out in the baller-verse. Rapper, actor and big, big basketball fan Ice Cube has suggested Shaq join his up-and-coming Big 3 basketball league. Have you seen it? It’s basketball, but played a lot more like the playground-lot games we all knew as kids, especially in the big cities. Could Shaq be the latest big-name NBA’er to give it a try? Well…

Big 3 games have featured some of the NBA’s greatest, and female stars, too. Names like Dr. J, Gary Payton, Rick Barry, Nancy Lieberman, Lisa Leslie, Clyde Drexler, Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Amar’e Stoudemire and more. The league is actually just now starting its 6th season, so it’s been around a while, even if you haven’t heard all that much about it. 

So the big, BIG question is this: Could Shaquille O’Neal be the next big name to make a Big 3 appearance? If “Cube” has his way, the answer is yes.. But no word yet either way from O’Neal himself. Still, we gotta say, how cool would that be? 

Taking to Twitter (X) recently, Ice Cube made his formal invite: “We got the contract ready for you, big fella. You got three months to get Diesel. You can eat all day in @thebig3 @SHAQ.” 

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Not sure if the eating all day thing is a real draw. After all, O’Neal has been talking about – and doing a good job of – taking better care of his health these days. From what we’ve seen and heard, he’s in pretty great shape. Would he be interested in getting back into uniform for the Big 3 league? 

Hard to say at this point. On his Big Podcast recently, Shaq chatted it up with former Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers. They talked about the Big 3 idea, but Shaq didn’t sound convinced… at least not yet. He asked Chalmers: “You think I can play in the Big 3?”

Chalmers has played in some Big 3 league games himself. To him, it seemed like a no-brainer: He said: “Yeah, easily. I got the perfect spot for you too. Come over there with me and Mike Beasley. You ain’t gotta do nothing but stay in the paint.”

Shaq didn’t squash the idea, but he didn’t jump on board, either… citing his recent hip procedure: “You really think I could play? I thought about it. I just had hip surgery and I ain’t played since. I don’t think I can get back in that mood.”

It’s been a stretch of 13 years since Shaq last played in the NBA. During his heyday, he was absolutely one of the most dominant, recognizable players in the game. If (and it’s a big if), the big man should decide to play in the Big 3 league, it would be a major coup. No doubt he would – by far – by the biggest, most recognizable player to join the league.

Ice Cube has talked about landing the big man in his league for some time. “I love Michael Jordan. I love Kobe; Shaq [is] incredible. After that, it just starts to get a little blurry for me. But you know, Magic Johnson, he’s definitely out there as one of my favorites. And I love the Iceman, George Gervin.”

Ice Cube and his Big 3 league have been involved in a low-scale battle with the big-league NBA over the years. Six years in, the BIG 3 continues to grow in terms of both attendance and overall viewership. Will Shaq make the jump? It would be amazing to see, for sure.

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