Young3 Youth Basketball

How Ice Cube’s Young3 Is Enriching the Lives of Youth through Basketball

Young and aspiring pro basketball players have a greater opportunity to aim high like some of their favorite Top 50 NBA players of all time with Ice Cube’s Young3 initiative.

Keep reading to learn all there is to know about the Young3 3-on-3 basketball initiative for our youth. Below are the subjects that will be covered throughout:

An Introduction to Young3

Young3 is a BIG3 program which strives to advance 3-on-3 basketball in local American communities, through the creation of more opportunities for children to enrich their lives with the game of basketball.

Initiated by Ice Cube, Adidas, and Legends Shooting For Peace; Young 3 incorporates the BIG 3 League’s partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs through the USA hosting 3-on-3 tournaments for kids.

With 3-on-3 basketball respectively becoming a new Olympic sport beginning in 2020, more aspiring youth can now not only watch their big league role models play, but can now participate in the games themselves, in their very own cities.

What Makes Basketball an Ideal Sport For Our Youth?

Enrolling young children in basketball activities promotes a healthy, active body and lifestyle. This is important firstly; to prevent childhood obesity and other related health risks; and to build strength. It’s also important because keeping active is not only healthy for the body, but for the brain, as well – capable of boosting one’s mood and self-esteem.

And while basketball is a physical activity, it also has the power to teach children great social skills while promoting the formation of potentially lifelong friendships – as being on a team involves regular practice sessions and meet-ups, as well as constant physical and verbal communication, cooperation and mutual support.

Engaging in basketball gives youth the opportunity to practice sociability and kindness with both their team members and opponents in a fun and healthy setting.

Young 3 Staff Highlights: Get to Know These Three VIPs

The Young3 is run by a group of incredible staff members that bring so much value to the campers and their experience in the league daily.

Below, learn about three particularly valuable Young3 staff members that have helped to shape the Young3 into what it is today:

Jerome JYD Williams (Young3 President and Former NBA player):

Jerome JYD Williams, Former NBA Player

President of the Young3, Jerome Williams (widely known as the Junk Yard Dog or JYD) is an American former basketball player and fan-favorite who last played for the NBA’s New York Knicks, as well as BIG 3’s POWER team.

As a recipient of three NBA Community Service Awards, Jerome has contributed a very generous combined total of 2 years (730 days) of community service time to various charitable basketball-driven projects and initiatives.

Jerome was first acknowledged for his outstanding basketball skills on his Magruder High School basketball team. He was then drafted out of Georgetown University in 1996 by the Detroit Pistons, playing on the team for over four years and becoming one of their key reserves. It was during this time with the Pistons that Jerome was nicknamed the Junk Yard Dog (JYD) by Rick Mahorn and Grant Long for his “hard work” and “hustle”.

Jerome then went on to play for the Toronto Raptors in February 22 of 2001 – and spanning from 2002-2003 with the team, averaged an impressive 9.7 points per game which turned him into a respected and revered key player.

In December of 2003, Jerome was traded again to the Chicago Bulls, averaging 6.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game from 2003-2004. During the offseason of 2004, he was traded back to the New York Knicks, but was waived by the team in 2005 as a result of the NBA’s new labor agreement – leading Jerome to announce a retirement from the court.

On January 25, 2006, Jerome rejoined the Raptors as their community representative. Jerome has a special place in his heart for Toronto, and that love is always reciprocated by the city whenever he makes a return.

Today, Jerome continues to be involved in many great initiatives that teach kids basketball and that aim to make the world a better place through this beloved sport.

Click here to get real-time coaching from Jerome Williams at the Young3 Virtual Academy.

Charles “Choo Smith” (former Harlem Globetrotter):

A humanitarian with an undeniable passion for the game of basketball, Charles “Choo” Smith Jr. is the founder of the non-profit Choo Smith Youth Empowerment organization, as well as the for-profit Choo Smith Enterprise.

Before Choo’s organizations came into fruition, he lived out his passion for the sport as the starting point guard and eventually the captain of his high school’s varsity basketball team.

During his time in university, Charles sparked the attention of an Original Harlem Globetrotters representative. He then became a member of the internationally-renowned team; becoming a key member until suffering what some believed would be a career-ending back injury. Fortunately, Choo recovered and continued to play for other teams including the Harlem Wizards. He was also once recognized as one of the greatest dribblers in existence.

Choo Smith Youth Empowerment organization focuses on Charles’s “4L” philosophy: “Love it, Learn it, Live it, Lead it”. It was from Charles’s basketball-positive initiatives that the Choo Smith Summer Basketball Camp was later born.

Today, Charles “Choo” Smith enjoys teaching kids basketball and continues to empower and inspire youth in the Young3 across the world.

Click here for more information on Charles “Choo Smith” and Young3.

Johnnie Williams III (inspirational speaker):

Johnnie Williams

The older brother of Jerome Williams; Johnnie Williams III is an Encouragement Specialist who has worked to inspire and empower individuals of all ages for 20 years with his wise and insightful words.

Johnnie is known for his soft-spoken and metaphorical speaking style. He has a particular talent for captivating the youth at Young3 camps; teaching valuable and complex lessons in a way that’s engaging and easy to understand.

Johnnie has worked with award-winning authors to publish two children’s books that teach the importance of family values and good character – which speaks to his special talent for empowering youth to be the best versions of themselves. He was most recently appointed by the Mayor of Henderson, Nevada to lead the city’s brightest youth on the Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence, among previously receiving other public recognitions and civic awards surrounding his efforts to empower and better our youth.

Johnnie is finalizing a partnership with Nevada Department of Education and its university’s partners to help guide more than 25,000 toward college education – and has even provided nearly $1,000,000 in presentation discounts to help support the state’s efforts to encourage challenged students.

Click here for more information on Johnnie Williams and Young3.

The Star Coaches Behind the Young3

Every young and impressionable basketball player in the Young3 relies on the guidance and expertise of a coach that not only knows the game of basketball, but knows how to make it a fun, educational experience that inspires them to give it their 100%. That’s the perfect recipe to what makes a good basketball coach.

With that said, let’s talk about the exemplary Young3 basketball coaches that the campers are privileged to have as teachers and role models, and who certainly know a thing or two about coaching youth basketball the right way:

Eric “Broadway” Jones (Former Harlem Globetrotter):

Eric 'Broadway' Jones

The All-American, World Scholar Athlete Eric “Broadway” Jones is an infectiously energetic and enthusiastic coach who never fails to instill that same attitude and zest into his Young3 players. Since he joined on as a coach, Eric has made a notably positive impact on the camp in a number of ways.

Like Charles “Choo”, Eric also once played for the Harlem Globetrotters. He was also a College Team Captain, Eric’s high energy and incredible knowledge of the sport certainly plays a fundamental role in bettering and advancing the skill of the young campers fortunate to have him as their coach

Click here for more information on Eric “Broadway” Jones and Young3.

James “Hollywood” Robinson (Former NBA player):

James 'Hollywood' Robinson

The hilariously witty James “Hollywood” Robinson is renowned for his ability to always get the Young3 campers laughing and smiling. Coach James always finds a way to ensure all of his campers are having a good time – never leaving out any kid who may be struggling. Hollywood believes that every single camper should feel equal and worthy of the game – which is one of his most treasured characteristics.

James started out playing basketball at his Murrah High School, where he averaged an impressive 42 points per game as a senior and was named a McDonald’s All American Player. It was during this time that he received his “Hollywood” nickname from Dick Vitale. He then went on to play for the University of Alabama, leading his team in scoring with an extraordinary 1831 points total – which remains as the sixth overall highest total points scored in school history.

In 1993, James was the 12th draft pick by the Portland Trailblazers. After this, he went on to play in the NBA for seven years for the Trailblazers, as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Clippers. During his time in the NBA, he even started a record company and clothing line, which speaks to his entrepreneurial ways. He then played four years in the FIBA league in Europe in multiple locations.

James has always been involved in basketball camps, motivational speaking and basketball training throughout his professional life. It’s clear that his greatest passion is making a difference in the lives of others through the beloved sport of basketball.

Click here for more information on James “Hollywood” Robinson and Young3.

Erin Thorn (Former WNBA player):

Erin Thorn

A highly respected and top contributor to the Young3, Erin Thorn is a former Brigham Young University All-American and 10-year WNBA veteran. She is also the sole female member on staff.

At the end of her college career, Erin held the NCAA record for most 3-pointers made in a career. She was drafted 17th overall in the 2003 WNBA draft by the New York Liberty. She played six seasons in New York; making it to the playoffs each season. Erin also played for the Chicago Sky, then with Minnesota and even played in teams overseas for 5 seasons.

Today, Erin is passionate about coaching youth basketball and working with the community’s youngsters. She’s coached the Vegas Elite Basketball Club, working with young players from the third through eighth grades – and even partakes in private and group training camps and sessions.

Whether she’s demonstrating proper shooting form, explaining when to use specific dribbling moves or encouraging the young campers to believe in their abilities, Erin’s exceptional skill and knowledge of the sport is something all of the Young3 campers are fortunate to learn from.

Click here for more information on Erin Thorn and Young3.

Desmon Farmer (Former NBA Player):

Desmon Farmer

Desmon Farmer is an American professional basketball player who last played for the BIG3’s Ball Hogs team – so he’s definitely no stranger to 3-on-3 basketball.

Before graduating in 2004, Desmon played for the University of Southern California and averaged 19 points per game, in addition to nearly five rebounds in his combined two final years.

Desmon played basketball professionally in Greece, Belgium and Poland before he returned to the U.S. to play for the NBA Development League’s Tulsa 66ers from 2006-2006; where he managed to average 16.4 points per game. Desmon was then signed to a contract by the Seattle SuperSonics later in 2006, and then went on to join the San Antonio Spurs in 2008. In 2009, he played for the Reno Bighorns.

Today, Desmon takes pride in coaching kids basketball with the Young3 initiative, and shares truly valuable insights and lessons with the young campers that he’s learned first-hand in his own professional NBA and BIG3 endeavors.

Click here for more information on Desmon Farmer and Young3.

Bryan Burrell (USA Basketball-Certified Coach):

Bryan Burrell spent his childhood years playing and loving the game of basketball – and today, he’s able to project that same love and skill he has for the sport onto his Young3 team members.

During his college years, Bryan helped out with the UNLV Womens Basketball Program, before going on to contribute his time to the nonprofit JYD Project; participating in a number of camps as well as their Legends Shooting for Peace program – helping them with their mission in countries like the USA, Canada, and China.

Before graduating from UNLV, Bryan was an active entrepreneur – and always has been at heart. He began his first entrepreneurial career in 2005 in the field of marketing, helping to start a couple companies, and eventually becoming a marketing consultant for various clients and creating content for a variety of mediums, also taking up broadcasting experience.

Today, Bryan is the Director of Operations for MBA Media Group and the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. He continues to be actively involved in business ventures.

Click here for more information on Bryan Burrell and Young3.

The Official 2019 Young3 Tour Schedule

Past Tour Dates (Click on Headline for a summary)

Young3 - Detroit, Michigan

Young3 and BIG3 Give Back To The Youth On Behalf of Nancy Lieberman - Charlotte, North Carolina

Young3 Has The Birmingham, Alabama Community Buzzing With Excitement

Young3 Thrives In Providence, Rhode Island

Young3 Shines Bright In Kansas City, Missouri

Salt Lake City Falls In Love With The Young3 Experience

Young3 Receives Raving Reviews In Return To Chicago

Young3 Showcases Elite Talent In Miami, Florida

DeShawn Stevenson Gives Back To The Dallas Youth With A Shooting For Peace Clinic





Working to enrich the lives of today’s youth with the incredible game of basketball is a motive we believe to be so worthy of our support and attention. With the Young3 camps in action across U.S. cities today, more children are able to experience the magic of the sport first-hand, while reaping its immense benefits that will keep giving for years to come.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to register their child(ren) into the Young3 clinics if they’re between the ages of 7-14, and the Young3 tournaments if they’re between the ages of 9-14 via

For those interesting in watching the aspiring basketball pros of our future play, the Young3 tournaments will be available for live streaming on the BIG3’s website this summer 2019… so tune in at home or on-the-go to root for your favorite Young3 campers! Be sure to follow @young3basketball on Instagram!

The Importance of Practice Plans When Coaching Youth Basketball

One of the more important things to bring to practice with your youth basketball team, other than having a winning attitude, is to have a plan.
Learn More

5 Benefits of Basketball Camps for Today’s Youth

Are your children enrolled in a basketball program? There are 5 amazing benefits that the youth can gain from participating in Basketball Camps. Find out more about your child can gain from being part of the Young3.
Learn More

5 of the Best Basketball Drills for Coaching Youth Basketball

With so many things to work on in basketball, including dribbling, passing, shooting, we've narrowed down the 5 best drills you can work on during your practice sessions.
Learn More

Big3 Radio