In brief

  • BIG3, a 3-on-3 basketball league, recently unveiled plans to sell team ownership stakes via NFTs.
  • Solana NFT project DeGods will purchase the top ownership stakes in one team, with DeGods holders offered access to lower-tier stakes.

Professional basketball league BIG3—founded by rapper and actor Ice Cube—recently announced plans to fractionalize team ownership by issuing NFTs for each of the 12 teams in its league, letting fans and investors buy in with perks aplenty.

Now we know that a popular NFT project will acquire the controlling interest in one of the teams.

Today, BIG3 announced that Solana-based NFT project DeGods has agreed to buy all 25 of the Fire-tier NFT ownership stakes in Killer 3s, one of the league’s 12 teams. Additionally, DeGods NFT holders will have access to up to 500 total “whitelist” spots to mint Killer 3s’ Gold-tier NFTs, of which there are 975 in total.

The Fire NFTs—which sell for $25,000 apiece—provide the most benefits for holders and offer more influence and control over a team. Fire NFT holders can vote on who will serve as team CEO, president, and VP, as well as use the IP rights to create team merchandise (with league approval).


DeGods will hold all of those stakes for Killer 3s, effectively giving it full control over the team. As part of this partnership, Killer 3s will sport a DeGods patch on their game jerseys, plus the NFT project’s branding will be integrated within broadcasts and on the scoreboard. DeGods community members will have access to as-yet-unrevealed opportunities around the team.

“This is probably the most fascinating experiment in the entire NFT space right now,” said founder Frank DeGods, in a release. “It’s cool because owning and operating a basketball team is a dream for millions of people. Now, we get to make that dream true for our holders.”

He told Decrypt that a DeGods NFT holder is a “crucial part of the league” and that they began discussing the idea a few months ago. The funds for the NFTs will come out of the project’s DeDAO treasury, and the initiative was voted for by DAO leadership, called the Divine Council. He also confirmed that DeGods NFT owners would influence the team’s management.

In a video message posted to BIG3’s Discord server this morning, Ice Cube discussed the broader idea of letting NFT communities buy controlling stakes in teams.


“We thought about this: should one community own a team like that? And the answer is yes, especially if it’s the right community,” he said. “The league needs these communities, and these communities want to come in and grow the league.”

He added that not every team in the league will take the same approach and that many tokens will still be available to the wider public.

BIG3 plans to hold the sale for NFT team ownership stakes in May, ahead of the league’s fifth season on June 18.

DeGods NFT tiers

While Gold NFT owners miss out on the higher-level team management benefits and others (such as championship rings) exclusive to the Fire tier, the $5,000 Gold NFTs still offer access to tickets to all games, team merchandise, votes on certain team decisions, and more.

All BIG3 team NFTs will be minted on Ethereum.

An NFT works like a blockchain-based deed of ownership and can be tied to things like artwork, sports collectibles, video game items, and more. It can also represent access to an exclusive club, for example—or a team ownership stake, in the case of BIG3’s unique initiative.

BIG3’s partnership with DeGods follows recent Twitter teases by Ice Cube and co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, an entertainment industry executive, including Ice Cube sharing his own DeGods NFT.


Ice Cube spoke with Decrypt earlier this month alongside BIG3’s announcement of the NFT ownership initiative. Currently, the league owns all of the teams, and the co-founders saw the rise of NFTs as an opportunity to do something different for the 3-on-3 league.

“What this drop allows us to do is to grab enthusiastic people to be owners,” Ice Cube told Decrypt, “and not just rich people who—you know, basketball may be their interest, or they could own Home Depot or some shit, and then this is a secondary thing.”

DeGods is the biggest NFT project on Solana by market cap and recently gained momentum on the back of its DeadGods initiative, which lets NFT holders upgrade to newer artwork.

According to data from CryptoSlam, the project has generated over $38 million in NFT trading volume to date, with more than $23 million of that in the last 30 days.

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