Ice Cube, alongside longtime business partner and Hollywood CEO Jeff Kwatinetz as well as former NBA shooting guard and deputy executive director of the National Basketball Players Association Roger Mason, are launching their very own professional basketball league for retired hoopers. According to Yahoo Sports, Cube, Kwatinetz and a team of investors are working to bring a summertime league dubbed BIG3 — a three-on-three, half-court basketball league –- to cities and venues around the country starting June 2017.
The rules will be simple, with plans to include eight teams of five players, each team will feature an ex-player as coach, as well as a team captain. So far, retired NBA players Gary Payton, Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams are some of the players committed to play on or coach teams.
“I thought of this concept as a fan who got sick of seeing his heroes retire and not play anymore,” Ice Cube told The Vertical. “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 idea is that retired players will still be compelling to watch as long as they’re not taxing their bodies on a nightly basis running up and down the court in today’s NBA, which is dominated by fast-paced, high-scoring offenses. “Not only do we get a chance to see these guys keep playing, but we give guys who retired who still got some game — who don’t want to pick up a [microphone] on TV and who don’t want to go overseas to play … some of these guys still want a stage to play on.”
Currently shopping the league for a TV deal, the BIG3 is slated to tip off on June 24, playing for 10 consecutive weeks and touring cities throughout the summer. The eight team-league will be a part of a four-game basketball festival which will also include musical acts and entertainment.
Many of us do go through some bit of basketball withdraw over the summer months, so maybe this could work, especially if they make it a touring attraction that people will want to attend when it’s in town.
Stay up to day on the league at BIG3.com.