Ice Cube to Start Basketball League For Retired NBA Players

Ice Cube and former NBAPA exec Roger Mason are joining forces with some basketball heroes for a 3-on-3 pro league

Ice Cube has been prolific with a myriad of projects in the twilight of his solo career, like playing Coachella, co-producing the Straight Outta Compton N.W.A biopic, and stepping in front of the camera for another blockbuster with Kevin Hart, Ride Along 2. Now, Cube is trying his hand at league founder, as he’s set to launch a summertime basketball league for retired NBA players next year called BIG3.

Cube will be joined in this endeavor by former Deputy Executive Director of the NBA Player’s Association Roger Mason, who is resigning his post to become the commissioner and president of the new league, which Cube and Mason are partnering to form. Vague details about the format of the league have been unveiled by NBA whisperer Adrian Wojnarowski on Yahoo!’s The Vertical, including the number of teams it’ll initially consist of (8), its playing style (half-court, 3-on-3), and when we can expect it to be up and running (June).

In addition, the report revealed which former NBA players and stars have already made a commitment to BIG3 as players or coaches, including Gary Payton, Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis, and Jason Williams (!).

Cube, who drew up the venture with his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz, explained the inspiration behind the league to The Vertical. “I thought of this concept as a fan who got sick of seeing his heroes retire and not play anymore. A lot of these guys can still play once they retire – just not the back-to-backs or four games in five nights.”

In addition to the idea that there’s still a market for able-bodied former NBA stars, Cube insinuates that the 3-on-3 model, primarily reserved for casual pick-up games, should be played on a pro level. “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?’.”

For now, Cube, Mason and Kwatinetz are working diligently to set up a television deal for the league.

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