Ice Cube Starts 3-on-3 Summer Basketball League with Former NBA Players

Summer basketball leagues such as the Drew League keep fans tuned in to some of their favorite NBA players during offseason months. Now, there’s a new exciting league to add to the mix: BIG3.

Rapper turned actor Ice Cube teamed up with former NBA player Roger Mason and most recently the deputy executive director of the NBA Players’ Association–and investors to form BIG3, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Plans include eight teams of five players – including an ex-player as coach, as well as a team captain – that’ll tour together from city to city starting in late June. So far, retired NBA players 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 reportedly agreed to be one of the coaches.

“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.”

Additionally, three-on-three feels organic; it’s true to pick-up roots.

“I started to look at three-on-three basketball and wondered, ‘Why isn’t this played on a pro level?’” Cube said. “It’s the most normal form of basketball. And from there it was like, ‘Yo, why don’t we make this happen?’”

The league will start June 24 and run for 10 weeks, and they’re currently working on a TV rights deal, according to The Vertical.