On this week’s Takeaways edition of the Vegas Nation podcast talked with entertainer Ice Cube.
The co-creator of rap group NWA, actor and co-founder The Big 3 basketball league is a devout Raiders fan. He discusses his love of the Silver and Black and what he thinks of the team heading into the 2021 training camp later this month.
Heidi Fang: As a Raiders fan, how exciting is it for you to have somebody like (former Raiders CEO) Amy Trask as the chairman of the board for The Big 3?
Ice Cube: Man, we are so blessed to have her as part of the team. You know, when we started The Big 3, me and Jeff (Kwatinetz) knew we needed someone like Amy.
We had a meeting with her and basically begged her to come out of retirement. She was just pretty much getting paid from CBS, doing football. And so to come out of that and jump into a new league, trying to start, how rough and tumble that is. And for her to keep us steady, to let us know how to treat the athletes when it comes to medical insurance, training, trainers and making sure that we’re doing everything we can to set the stage so the players can perform.
And so the knowledge she brings to The Big 3, we wouldn’t be here without her. We just wouldn’t be this far. We would have stumbled and fell on our face somewhere. But she’s kept us upright with our knowledge and just knowing how to get things done when it comes to professional sports.
HF: I know you’re a huge Raiders fan. What was it that made you a Raider fan?
IC: Just trying to find a team that identified with me as a person, a player. I played football as a youngster. Our street was kind of a rough-tumble street. You know what I mean? So the Raiders just – first it was Steelers – but then I grew up and kind of understood what the game was all about and then it became the Raiders at a very young age. I think I was 10 when I fell in love with the Raiders. And so I just loved their style.
And then they moved to Los Angeles. So that was unbelievable in ‘82, and I was a little older, so I could really understand and accept them and be a diehard fan. And then, by the time they won the Super Bowl, you know, I’m 14 years old and I already knew that this was my squad for life. And so, I’ve been a Raider fan ever since.
HF: What has it meant to see the team move? You mentioned LA, then they go back to Oakland, then Oakland to Las Vegas. What has that meant as a fan? Does it make it hard to follow them? Or is it Raider nation for life, you know?
IC: Yeah. It’s hard, you know, but it’s still Raider Nation for life, for sure.
I was always dreaming when they moved to Oakland that we’d get our stuff together and they’d come back. That was a dream of mine that they would come back one day. And, you know, I was just surprised that they couldn’t get a new stadium done in Oakland.
That’s still like crazy to me, but Oakland has their reasons. So I was hoping they would come back to LA, of course, I definitely didn’t want the Chargers, but I had heard they was going to go to San Antonio and I wasn’t with that at all. So Vegas was like, “please go to Vegas, please, please go to Vegas” because to me, Vegas is the next best thing.
If they can’t be in LA, you know, I could just jump on my bus and come to Vegas. And so you know, it’s, it was like, “please, please, please.” And Vegas and the Raiders just go together like peanut butter and jelly, you know? It’s just the perfect city for the team. The Death Star (Allegiant Stadium) is amazing.
I haven’t been inside yet. I’m waiting for a game. Or, you know, I might ask Mark [Davis] for the keys, spend the night there on the 50-yard line. But you know, I really I’m looking forward to seeing them play. I’m looking forward to seeing the stadium they deserve that’s in Vegas.
HF: You said that you really identified with the Raiders. And you have heard about Raiders lineman Carl Nassib coming out as the first active gay NFL player. What has it meant to you that this team has been the frontrunner when it comes to being a progressive team and having social awareness?
IC: It lets you know that it’s all about winning. You know? That’s really what it’s all about. And as a fan, I appreciate that. You know, I appreciate that. It’s all about winning. It’s just really all about being that example, letting people know that you should let the cream rise to the top. All these traditions, all this stuff that goes on in the NFL, not just the NFL, but in a lot of different companies in America, It’s just cool to know that your team doesn’t care who the person is. If they can help us win, they’ll get a shot in the Silver and Black. That’s what makes us, even though they’re Raiders, they’re good guys. That’s what makes us the good guys, for sure.