Womens Hoops

FIBA: On Ice Cube’s ignorant BIG3 offer to Caitlin Clark

FIBA: On Ice Cube’s ignorant BIG3 offer to Caitlin Clark

You probably know the story by now: Ice Cube offered Iowa senior Caitlin Clark $5 million to join his BIG3 basketball league, a 3-on-3 league comprised primarily of former NBA players. She would earn the money for playing from eight to 10 3-on-3 games, depending on how her theoretical team fared during the season. That’s an incredible payday, one that could set the standard for future contracts signed by women athletes in the US—and, if Ice Cube has his way, abroad, too.

One can see Ice Cube’s offer as a publicity stunt, an attempt to increase interest in the BIG3 by capitalizing on Clark’s popularity. And that’s fine.

One can see the offer as a genuine and generous act that Ice Cube believes will elevate the salaries and status of women athletes in America. And that’s fine, too.

But it’s impossible to overlook the ignorant statement that he made about American players “often” having to move to “dismal and dubious foreign countries” in one of the follow-up tweets. He might have been referring to what happened to Brittney Griner, but the word “often” signifies a deeper issue, a habitual disrespect suffered by American ballers at home and abroad.

The EuroLeague Women X profile was quick to respond with the following:

You might remember that Diana Taurasi sat out the 2015 WNBA season after her team in Russia offered to pay her $1.5 million to rest. In comparison, her salary from the Phoenix Mercury at the time was $100,000. Granted, WNBA stars currently aren’t getting paid as much as $1.5 million (nor are they playing in Russia), but they still make enough to make the trip to Europe worthwhile. WNBA regulars—understood as players who make WNBA rosters but rarely crack a starting five—can command up to $200,000 a season.

Apart from financial compensation, US players simply are taken care of on the continent. In the past, they might have arrived to a foreign country and nobody was waiting for them at the airport; that’s not longer the case. Heck, hoops history buffs will remember that nobody from the University of Houston was waiting for Hakeem Olajuwon at the airport in 1980, either. In Poland, where I live and which “often” feels “dismal and dubious,” foreign players get set up with their own apartment (paid for by…

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