By J.R. Gamble
The Shadow League
Ice Cube is approaching his fourth decade as a taste maker of American culture. The West Coast legend and former NWA ghost writer started crushing flows and captivating crowds in the late ’80s.
To kick off 2017, Cube is not only dropping his new First Fight flick and still spitting flames here and there, the Death Certificate gangsta rapper-turned-Renaissance celebrity is organizing a basketball league called Big3 for retired players and coaches with Roger Mason—former NBA player and most recently the deputy executive director of the NBA Players’ Association. Mason thought so highly of Cube’s vision that he retired from his position to tackle this ground-breaking business venture and serve as league commissioner.
BIG3 is expected to start touring on June 24 and run for 10 weeks, and they’re currently working on a TV rights deal, according to The Vertical. There will be eight teams of five players, and they’ll tour between various cities playing three-on-three.
“I thought of this concept as a fan who got sick of seeing his heroes retire and not play anymore,” Ice Cube said.
Cube has nailed it with this one.
In the past, once a player retired, they become distant memories and sequences of highlight clips in the mind of most fans. The special players, however, stay in our hearts and minds for years to come and we try to embrace the new generation, but they just don’t stir our basketball emotions like the heroes of yesteryear.
“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?’”
How many times have we said, “If I could just see A.I. cross a dude over and go baseline just one more time…” Or, “Damn, T-Mac left the game too soon. Would love to see my dude get nasty with one more ‘gain.”
Youtube clips don’t always satisfy fans who are dabbin’ down memory lane. If singers and rappers and dancers and comedians can continue to perform and satisfy the thirst of their fans well past their prime, then why not athletes. If the ’70s band KISS can keep touring and making millions of duckets singing songs from 40 years ago, then I’m sure ballers like Jason “White Chocolate” Williams, Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, and Rashard Lewis (committed players) will be able to pack some houses on tour.
All of these guys were legit stars not too long ago and have unique stories and journeys which led to “premature” retirements. They are classic examples of players that we’d all love to see just one more time. Even the coaches will be a must see. The league also has Hall of Famers in the loop as Gary “The Glove” Payton will be a coach.
Ice Cube keeps taking his Sports-rap revolution to another level.
This story originally appeared on TheShadowLeague.com, a site dedicated to journalistically sound sports coverage with a cultural perspective that insightfully informs sports fans worldwide.