Checkmate: Ice Cube Calls Out Trump & Qatar Big3 Investors In Full-Page Ad
UPDATE: 04/12/18 6:00 PM ET
This article has been updated to include a statement from the Qatar Investment Authority.
History and a little movie called Straight Outta Compton has reminded us that Ice Cube doesn't play around when it comes to his money. After it was revealed he and other members of his Big3 basketball league sued Qatari investors who tried to push them out his own league, Cube took things up a notch.
On Tuesday (Apr. 10), an full-page ad appeared in the New York Times about President Donald Trump and the Emir of Qatar with a quip about the scandal. "When you meet today with Putin's new friend, Emir of Qatar, please tell him not to threaten the Big3 and American athletes!," it reads. Trump met with Emir of Qatar at the White House Tuesday.
The suit filed by Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz alleged a group called Sport Trinity and investors Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, Faisal Al-Hamadi, who previously worked for the Qatar Investment Authority; and Ayman Sabi used unlawful practices to etch them out their company and refused to deliver on plans to invest in the company. The investors promised to bring in $20.5 million but only provided a third of the amount. Cube's Big3 league consists of legendary basketball players who play three-on-three basketball tournaments. The league's inaugural games were a hit on Fox Sports in 2017, bringing in over 400,000 viewers.
In a statement to VIBE, Qatar Investment Authority said they have no ties to Ice Cube or the Big3 League. "Neither the Qatar Investment Authority nor its CEO are investors in, nor have they had any involvement with, Big3,” they said. A Qatar government spokesman also conformed with The Washington Post that the Sport Trinity Group has no ties to the Qatar Investment Authority.
The investors named in the lawsuit promised to bring in $20.5 million but only provided a third of the amount. Cube's Big3 league consists of legendary basketball players who play three-on-three basketball tournaments. The league's inaugural games were a hit on Fox Sports in 2017, bringing in over 400,000 viewers.
“These members and associates of the royal family made excuse after excuse for not paying, all of which is documented in text messages and emails,” the suit reads.“The blame for their failure to fund the millions they owed the BIG3 ran the gamut from their ‘sinuses,’ ‘hiking,’ it being a ‘long day bro,’ and to bad press regarding Qatar associations with alleged funding of terrorism.”
The billion-dollar lawsuit also claimed that the investors made racial remarks about the players in the league. The group denied any wrongdoing. "Mr. Kwatinetz may think this resort to racial animosity and religious paranoia serves his personal interest, but it certainly is not in the best interest of Big3 or its investors," the group said to The Washington Post last week.
Cube also tweeted the ad, with a message to Trump. Emir of Qatar hasn't responded to the full-page ad.