Caitlin Clark offered $5M to join Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league

The 22-year-old has already shared her intention to declare for the WNBA draft after this season, but Ice Cube thinks there's a way she can do both.
Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 28, 2024

Iowa women's basketball superstar Caitlin Clark has been offered a $5 million contract to join Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league, the rapper confirmed Wednesday.

"We intended the offer to remain private while Caitlin Clark plays for the championship," Ice Cube wrote on social media, linking to an article from TMZ. "But I won’t deny what’s now already out there: BIG3 made a historic offer to Caitlin Clark. Why wouldn’t we? Caitlin is a generational athlete who can achieve tremendous success in the BIG3."

Clark is still currently competing in the NCAA women's March Madness tournament, but has said she plans to declare for the WNBA draft at the end of this season — and is widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick. However, the lucrative offer from the BIG3 could sway the 22-year-old star in a different direction — both professionally and financially.

Caitlin Clark attracts largest regular-season TV audience in 25 years
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) celebrates after becoming the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I basketball.

Caitlin Clark attracts largest regular-season TV audience in 25 years

Iowa star Caitlin Clark has attracted large TV audiences as she has set numerous records this season.


The average annual salary of a WNBA player was about $116,000 last year, according to Statista, with the highest-earning players making about $242,000 annually. This leads many WNBA players — like Brittney Griner — to seek out more fruitful deals overseas in countries like China and Russia during the offseason. 

"America's women athletes should not be forced to spend their off seasons playing in often dismal and dubious foreign countries just to make ends meet," Ice Cube said. "And they should have more than just one professional option in the US. ...Our pathbreaking offer to Caitlin Clark demonstrates that BIG3 now offers another choice for athletes." 

The WNBA season consists of 36 regular season games — compared to just 10 in the BIG3. Hypothetically, that means the WNBA's best and highest-paid players made about $6,700 per regular season game last year, whereas Clark now has the option to go make half a million dollars per game in the BIG3.  

Poll: Caitlin Clark is biggest name in NCAA basketball, male or female
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark.

Poll: Caitlin Clark is biggest name in NCAA basketball, male or female

Name recognition for the Iowa women's basketball star is more than double that of any other college basketball player in the country.


Clark has not yet publicly commented on the job offer, but as the most popular college basketball player in the country — male or female — it doesn't all come down to salary differences. She'll also have to consider endorsement deals as well. 

According to ESPN, the WNBA said Clark stands to make more than $3 million in endorsements and partnerships if she signs with a team next season. That's in addition to deals she already has with big brands like Nike, State Farm, and Gatorade. 

The WNBA season tips off on May 13, about a month before the start of BIG3. Therefore, it's unlikely that Clark can participate in both leagues at the same time. But it's an option Ice Cube is still considering a possibility. 

"We've thought about it, it's definitely doable," he said on an episode of The Pat McAfee Show. "You know, both leagues play on CBS, so of course they love it if we can make it happen. So, it's up to the player. As a league we'll make it happen. We've always wanted to work with the WNBA."

The BIG3 is a professional 3-on-3 basketball league that was co-founded in 2017 by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. The league features some former NBA players competing in a half-court format, with unique rules — including a four-point shot — and seeks to offer basketball fans competitive entertainment during the NBA offseason.