NBA Alumni Basketball League Launched By Ice Cube

Ice Cube has changed the sound of Hip-Hop, the face of Hollywood, and now he aims to rearrange the retirement age in professional basketball. Cube, a former high school athlete who has been a devoted sports fan to the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Lakers, and other pro franchises, is launching a league.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ The Vertical,  Cube’s league will be called BIG3 and will play in the summer, presumably after the NBA Finals. There will be eight teams, each with five players. These games will replicate, in structure, many pick-up games of hoops, with three-on-three using just half the court.

The news broke after NBA Players Association Executive Director Roger Mason stepped down. In conjunction with his exit, Mason (who played in the NBA between 2002 and 2014) announced he would be the president and commissioner of the new venture.

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So far Cube has brought in some powerful names committed to BIG3. Nine-time NBA all-star and 2006 champion Gary Payton is on board, as well as six time all-star Jermaine O’Neal. 2013 champ Rashard Lewis and 2003 champion Stephen Jackson are signed on. Kenyon Martin, as well as former Nets teammate Jason Williams (who won a ‘chip in 2006) complete the six stars said to be on board.

“I thought of this concept as a fan who got sick of seeing his heroes retire and not play anymore,” said Cube to 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?’”

In music, Ice Cube (now 47) has helped challenge ageism. Now, the N.W.A. and Westside Connection member hopes to do the same in hoops.

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Also, with Gary Payton playing hoops again, one of the players from that famed Lakers vs. Supersonics game in Cube’s “It Was A Good Day” is still making moves on the court.

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