Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league proved to be an entertaining diversion for hoops fans during the NBA offseason, but it may also prove to be a costly venture for the star entertainer depending on the result of pending litigation.
The New York Daily News' Shayna Jacobs reported Friday that Champions Basketball League founder Carl George filed a $250 million lawsuit against the BIG3 in Manhattan Supreme Court. George alleges Ice Cube and BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz consulted with members of the CBL and proceeded to lift ideas from the CBL to incorporate into their own league.
George contended the BIG3 signed players to exclusive contracts that precluded them from playing in another league. In the suit, George's lawyers wrote, "When certain players expressed their desire to participate in the CBL games, Mr. 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 percent of revenues bonus pool, or replaced on their teams."
Deadspin's Tom Ley reported on Aug. 23 the CBL was slated to start in July before the scheduled launch date was pushed back into August. Upon trimming the league down from 16 to 10 teams, George emailed the CBL's investors, telling them the season opener was canceled and that the league was "in the process of filing a significant lawsuit this week."
Trilogy won the inaugural BIG3 title, with the trio of Rashad McCants, Kenyon Martin and Al Harrington headlining the championship-winning squad. The Washington Post's Rick Maese reported Aug. 26 the BIG3 could look to grow in its second season by bringing in new players from "a deeper talent pool."
Maese added the BIG3 founders saw the first season as a "big success."