On MLK Day, legendary artist, actor, basketball enthusiast, and co-founder of the BIG3 professional basketball league, Ice Cube, achieved another milestone in his illustrious career as he was honored with the prestigious Naismith Hall of Fame Award. Adding to his already impressive collection of accolades, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, this latest recognition, The Naismith Hall of Fame Ice Cube Impact Award highlights Cube’s significant impact on professional basketball and his commitment to the community.
The Naismith Award, named in Cube’s honor, will be presented annually to individuals in the basketball community who utilize their platform to make outstanding contributions to basketball and their positive impact on the lives of others in the community. Cube is in the process of appointing a selection committee that he will chair in the coming year’s award nominations.
The event’s highlight unfolded with the unveiling of the Ice Cube Impact Award Exhibit. Featuring a collection of photographs spanning Cube’s life, including images of him in his youth basketball uniform, with NWA, alongside Kobe Bryant, and at the inaugural BIG3 launch press conference, the exhibit showcases Cube’s journey and his profound impact on the game and a video featuring Cube discussing his journey and the award’s significance adds depth to the exhibit.
John Doleva introduced Nancy Lieberman, who, in turn, introduced Cube as they revealed the exhibit. In an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Cube shared remarks on this significant honor. Check out the ceremony here.
“I am so honored; when you have an award in the hall of fame, people have to take you seriously; it gives you a certain level of credibility,” he continues. “I am looking forward to finding finalists who do good work across the country that positively impact the lives of others through basketball, famous or not.”
“The Hall of Fame team enjoyed meeting and honoring Ice Cube as we welcomed him to the Hall of Fame family. We look forward to utilizing Cube’s platform in both entertainment and basketball to discover and celebrate people in challenged communities nationally who are using basketball as a lever to improve their neighborhoods, and more importantly, help guide young people by reinforcing positive life skills through their love of the game,” adds John Doleva, President/CEO of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Leading up to the special day at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Cube was warmly greeted by CEO/President John Doleva. The two-day celebration, meticulously organized by the Hall of Fame team, began with a personal tour of the recently $30M renovated Hall of Fame, and a visit to the Kobe Bryant exhibit, which quickly became a cherished memory to Cube and his family.
Immersed in the community of Springfield, Cube, alongside BIG3 Coach and hall of famer Nancy Lieberman, actively participated in a community clinic for children from local organizations. The center court at Hoop Hall buzzed with excitement as Cube and Nancy emphasized the importance of practice and hard work. Children from organizations across the city participated in basketball drills, creating lasting memories. He also personally visited Deberry Elementary School in Springfield, giving the students there an inspirational talk.
In addition to celebrating this momentous occasion, Nancy Lieberman moderated a Q&A session with Ice Cube, engaging with a couple of hundred supporters from the community. The questions ranged from Cube’s motivations for starting the BIG3 league to the inspiring story of hiring Nancy Lieberman.
After this, Cube was given the honor of awarding the MVP to Liam McNeeley of Montverde Academy at the 2024 Spalding Hoophall Classic game between two of the best high school basketball programs in the country played by Montverde Academy (FL- winner) and Prolific Prep (CA).
This Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Award and induction marks a personal triumph for Ice Cube and a testament to his enduring legacy in basketball, entertainment, and community engagement. In addition to this award, as a member of NWA, Cube will be honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.