Maybe it was too good to be true for Ice Cube’s newest sports venture, the BIG3 basketball league. From all indications the ‘street ball’ league had a very successful first season. With former NBA stars like Allen Iverson, Jermaine O’Neal, Jason Williams, Charles Oakley, Mike Bibby, Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups and Cuttino Mobley (just to name a few) headlining the games, the league’s first 8-game season went about as good as Ice Cube could have hoped for.
However, according to the Daily News, the BIG3 founders Ice Cube (real name O’Shea Jackson) and Jeff Kwatinetz are facing a $250 million lawsuit over allegedly stealing players and ideas from the recently formed Champion Basketball League.
CBL founder Carl George says that Ice Cube and Kwatinetz stole their ideas and goods after getting close to CBL management and players following the league’s 2014 launch.
CBL and BIG3 originally teamed up as partners with the goal of creating a mutually-beneficial business startup that one day would compete with the National Basketball Association, George’s lawsuit contends.
CBL recruited former NBA players whose talents went to waste due to team salary cap restrictions. But they did not sign exclusive contracts, partly so their outside activities could help promote the nascent organization.
That allowed them to play for the former N.W.A. front man on the side. But then BIG3, in a backstabbing move, signed them to exclusive deals and broke the terms of the agreement through a series of flagrant fouls.
The lawsuit also alleges that when players expressed an interest in playing in CBL games in addition to BIG3 games Ice Cube “confronted the players personally about playing in the CBL and threatened the players that they would be fined, not allowed to participate in the 52% of revenues bonus pool, or replaced on their teams.”
The BIG3 league’s first champions were team Trilogy who went 8-0 with a roster of Rashad McCants, James White, Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington and Dion Glover. The league’s MVP was won by Rashard Lewis who averaged 21.3 points per game, while James White won Defensive Player of the Year with Rick Mahorn winning Coach of the Year.
We’ll have to wait and find out to see if this has any backlash on the league next season. If there is one.