When Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league debuted in Brooklyn and on-air through Fox Sports last summer (June 25), it drew a massive audience. Investors eyed the league from day one, but they proved to be all talk. Ice Cube and his partner Jeff Kwatinez is suing a group of their investors for $1.2 billion for attempting to control the league’s leadership by withholding the remainder of the $20.5 million they pledged.
The suit filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court, according to the Washington Post, reads Cube and Kwatinetz accuse the trio investors, Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, Faisal Al-Hamadi and Ayman Sabi of defamation, libel and interference with contractual relationships. Called Sport Trinity, the group gave Ice Cube and his partner the impression they had a “love for basketball” and they had “familial connections and relationships with the royal Al-Thani Family in the State of Qatar, and thus access to vast resources and capital.”
Deadline reports Sports Trinity generously gave select Big3 employees expensive gifts, hosted yacht and mansion parties, allowed them to use of their fancy cars and talked about their association with the league’s celebrity investors and NBA stars, all while only paying a third of the millions they promised to invest in Big3.
Their reasoning for withholding the $11.5 million owed to the league was for leverage purposes, Al-Rumaihi bidding for a 25 percent stake in the league, for Ayman to be named chief operating officer and to be afforded “respect as a royal family member.”
“It’s like, god—- , man, we’re the newest, smallest thing with one season under our belt. Go after the big boys,” Cube told the Post. “That’s what this is more about. It’s like we’re going to tell the world what you tried to do. We ain’t no punks. They thought we was just this rapper and this rock guy: ‘We could do ’em.’ Get your [butt] out of here.”
Sports Trinity spokesperson told the Post the suit is a “blatantly false and malicious fabrication.”
Big3, a pro 3-on-3 basketball league with a roster filled with former NBA Hall-of-Famers and all-stars, is the first of its kind. Players like Allen Iverson, Julius Erving, Ron Artest, Amar’e Stoudemire, Gary Payton and George Gervin will be gearing up for the league’s 10-week second season. Tip-off is slated for June 22.