Ice Cube and his 3-man-basketball league are suing Qatari investors for $1.2B

Get money, spend money, no money: The Washington Post reports that Big3 basketball league founders Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz are suing a group of their own investors for $1.2B. The 33-page suit alleges the investors, which include associates of Qatari royalty (like the half brother of Qatar’s emir), bragged of connections to the royal […]

Get money, spend money, no money: The Washington Post reports that Big3 basketball league founders Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz are suing a group of their own investors for $1.2B.

The 33-page suit alleges the investors, which include associates of Qatari royalty (like the half brother of Qatar’s emir), bragged of connections to the royal family and its riches but paid little more than half of the money they agreed to invest in the 3-on-3 pro basketball league.

Iverson hath risen

Aimed at extending the careers of players like NBA all-star Allen Iverson, and upping the fun with streetball antics, the 8-team league debuted last June, drawing nearly 400k viewers. 

The better-than-expected turnout was enough to lock in a second season, but the league needed funding. 

So, the league’s then-commissioner Roger Mason Jr. introduced them to the group — with whom he had a close relationship — and brought them on as “passive investors.”

But they became anything but passive

As soon as they signed on, they attempted to buddy up with Big3 employees, offering tropical trips, yacht parties, and investments in personal business projects. 

Except, when it came time to front the money they couldn’t deliver. 

According to the Washington Post, Sport Trinity was to pay $11.5m upfront and would contribute $9m in sponsorship money over 3 years — but they paid only $6.5m at the start, promising to pay the remainder ASAP.

They didn’t.

So Cube had to come in and regulate

The lawsuit claims the volatile months-long game of cat and mouse cost the league millions, their first-year commissioner (whom they fired due to his relationship with the group), and other financial headaches — bringing a whole new meaning to Ice Cube’s “The Curse of Money.”

But the dispute hasn’t slowed the Big3’s momentum: The league, scheduled to open its second season in June, recently announced an apparel deal with Adidas, improved their television deals, and hired a new commish — NBA legend Clyde “The Glide” Drexler.

We’re just trying to do basketball, man,” he told WaPo. “We’re not trying to be caught up in no international bullsh*t.

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