If you're a fan of rap music, then you no doubt know who Steve Rifkind is. But, if you're not a fan, then here's (almost) everything you need to know about him: He founded Loud Records in the early 1990s and helped launch the careers of everyone from Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep to Asher Roth and Akon. Caught up? Okay, good.

We mention Rifkind on the sports channel because he's currently getting set to launch his most ambitious project yet. Recently, he agreed to help start the American Basketball League—an organization that will tip off its new season in January 2013 and aim to compete directly with the NBA's D-League. It'll feature 12 teams, a 24-game season, and a specific focus on dominating markets like Miami, San Antonio, West Palm Beach, and Corpus Christi where the D-League is failing to capitalize. And, to make things more interesting than the D-League, it'll follow FIBA's international rules and feature a "Final Four"-style playoff system that commences in a "winner-takes-all" championship round that will reward one team handsomely for winning the 'chip.

Sound promising? Eh, there's a very good chance the league falls flat and doesn't ever amount to anything. It's the nature of the sports business. But, we're not going to bet against Rifkind. So, we'll definitely be keeping an eye on it in 2013.

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[via Ball Don't Lie]