Caitlin Clark offered ‘historic’ $5m deal to play in Ice Cube’s BIG3 league

Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark has a $5 million offer on the table to join the BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league.

“It was our intention that the offer would remain private while Caitlin Clark plays for the championship,” Big3 founder Ice Cube wrote to X on Wednesday. “But I will not deny what is already available: BIG3 has a historic offer done to Caitlin Clark. Why wouldn’t we? Caitlin is a generational athlete who can achieve tremendous success in the BIG3.”

The BIG3 recently announced that the seventh season of the league – so far an all-male circuit – will kick off on June 15.

Clark, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I history (men’s and women’s), is likely the No. 1 overall pick of the Indiana Fever in next month’s WNBA Draft. WNBA rookie salaries for lottery draft picks (picks one through four) in 2024 are $77,000 and increase to $98.00 in a player’s fourth season. Clark made $3.5 million through NIL deals in her college career and will continue to receive significant sponsorship money when she turns pro.

In a series of follow-up posts, Ice Cube said Clark has an opportunity to be a pioneer for women in the sport and still go to the WNBA.

“The skeptics laughed when we made Nancy Lieberman the first female coach of a men’s professional team, and she became a champion in her first year. Then Lisa Leslie won it all in year two. With our offering, Caitlin Clark can make history and break down even more barriers for female athletes.

“American female athletes should not be forced to spend their offseasons playing in often bleak and dubious foreign countries just to make ends meet. And they should have more than just one professional option in the US at a time when American professional sports leagues are being infiltrated by autocratic, anti-women regimes like Qatar. Our groundbreaking offer to Caitlin Clark shows that BIG3 now offers another choice for athletes.”

Ice Cube’s comments come after Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained in Russia after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. The American star is one of the best players in the world but found herself in the middle of a high-profile prisoner swap in 2022 while playing in the Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League. Other WNBA stars have since done the same opportunities rejected to play overseas in the WNBA offseason.

It is unclear if Clark would be eligible to play in the BIG3 league in addition to playing in the WNBA. Beginning in 2023, new WNBA prioritization rules will apply that will limit prioritization options players who play abroad.

Clark set numerous records as a senior for the Hawkeyes this season and has taken interest in women’s basketball to new heights with her deep three-pointers and ball-handling skills.

“She’s out there playing Steph Curry and shoot the ball anywhere on the court,” former NBA point guard and WNBA coach Muggsy Bogues told the Guardian earlier this month.

Shortly after Clark announced her plans to enter the WNBA draft, Indiana Fever ticket offices were flooded with requests for tickets. “We have seen a lot of excitement online and on social media,” Pacers Sports and Entertainment said in a statement to the Associated Press. “The organization also sees the enthusiasm leading to a peak in the number of ticket requests.”

“It’s Clarkonomics,” said basketball analyst Debbie Antonelli. “Her ability to move the meter and the excitement around her is incredible. The socially acceptable thing to do is watch Caitlin Clark play basketball.”

Clark and the top-seeded Hawkeyes (31-4) return to action Saturday in the Women’s NCAA Tournament against No. 5 Colorado in a Sweet 16 game in Albany, New York.