The Los Angeles Lakers have been making major headlines this summer, thanks to their acquisition of free agent LeBron James. After King James joined the roster, the team made a number of other roster moves. That included bringing in veterans like Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Michael Beasley. Meanwhile, their last known superstar, Kobe Bryant, is also making major headlines even though he's no longer donning the purple and gold jersey.

Bryant joining BIG 3 story goes viral

A number of websites picked up on a story that Lakers' legend Kobe Bryant was going to join Ice Cube's BIG 3 basketball league for its next season.

That would put him in the same league that former NBA stars such as Allen Iverson, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Nate Robinson, and Baron Davis have all participated in.

The "report" (seen above) first arrived on Twitter via Brandon "Scoop" Robinson. He said the news that Bryant would play in the BIG 3 league came during a conference call straight from the league's co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz.

That immediately got rumors going, as it made the rounds online with fans sharing it, and websites putting forth the story. A YouTube video from The Fumble (above) told about the big news and had fans all buzzing with excitement that the "Black Mamba" was headed to the BIG 3.

Not so fast, though.

Kobe Inc. ends the excitement

It didn't take long for an official source representing Kobe Bryant to give some clarification of the matter. Associated Press' Brian Mahoney provided Kobe Inc. chief marketing officer Molly Carter's definitive word about Kobe's intentions or non-intention.

That certainly throws water on the flames of a fire that was burning with excitement for the basketball great's participation. It's been no secret that Ice Cube and those connected with the BIG 3 have wanted to land some major stars to add to their touring league. Among the names mentioned are Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant.

Cube, and the others involved in the league, including the players, realize that bringing in stars of this magnitude would only help bring more popularity to BIG 3 basketball.

The league features 3-on-3 teams competing in back-to-back games each weekend of the summer in different cities around the United States. Last year, the playoffs and league championship were determined in Las Vegas.

Off-court ventures in progress

Duncan, KG, and Kobe would all help sell the BIG 3. However, all three of these stars seem comfortable with retirement and other ventures at the moment. Of them, Tim Duncan was most recently seen playing basketball for a Virgin Islands game he was supporting. Kevin Garnett has been seen on television as a media host with his "Area 21" television program revolving around basketball.

Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant has transitioned into the world of off-court business and entertainment ventures. His most recent success was seeing his initial $6 million investment into sports drink BodyArmor turn into a $200 million value once Coca-Cola bought up the brand.

Seeing Kobe Bryant return to the basketball court would be great for fans, but he was finding himself hurt towards the tail end of his career which in turn may have hurt his stats. The focus in Los Angeles will now shift to new superstar LeBron James [VIDEO], as he attempts to deliver another championship or two or three to the Lakers franchise.