*Rapper and actor Ice Cube is launching a basketball league for his favorite, but retired, NBA players, with the plan to begin a playing schedule on June 24.

Cube is partnering with investors and ex-players to form a summertime 3-on-3 league called the BIG3. According to, plans call for eight teams of five players, with ex-players also serving as coaches. Former All-Star point guard Gary Payton has signed up to be one of the coaches. Players committed to play include Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams.

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The eight teams would take part in an inaugural four-game basketball festival that would include other musical acts and entertainment. The teams would play for 10 consecutive weeks and tour cities over the summer. No television rights deal has been finalized, but it’s in the works.

“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?’

“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.”

BIG3’s site is currently under construction but there is a mailing list sign-up to keep fans updated.