Veteran rapper/actor Ice Cube has launched a basketball league for retired NBA players.
Yahoo Sports reports that Cube’s league, which he founded with longtime business partner and CEO Jeff Kwatinetz, will be called BIG3 and will play in the summer, presumably after the NBA Finals.
BIG3 will consist of eight teams in sum, each with five players. The league will play three-on-three, half-court basketball games in various cities and venues starting in June. Deputy executive director Roger Mason is leaving the National Basketball Player Association to become president and commissioner of the league.
Mason, who played in the NBA for 10 years, spearheaded the union’s movement to provide tens of millions of dollars in health care and increased benefits to retired and elderly ex-players. He has been a strong conduit in rebuilding the players association.
So far, retired NBA stars Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams are some of the players committed to play on teams, league officials said.
Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton has also reportedly agreed to coach.
“I thought of this concept as a fan who got sick of seeing his heroes retire and not play anymore,” Ice Cube said. “A lot of these guys can still play once they retire – just not the back-to-backs or four games in five nights. I started to look at three-on-three basketball and wondered, ‘Why isn’t this played on a pro level?’ It’s the most normal form of basketball. And from there it was like, ‘Yo, why don’t we make this happen?’”
The league is currently working to secure a television rights deal.