Rapper Ice Cube, and music manager Jeff Kwatinetz, the co-founders of Big3, a 3v3 basketball league, have filed a lawsuit against a group of foreign investors who they alleged reneged on promises and tried to force them out of the league.
According to the Washington Post, Ice Cube whose real name is O’Shea Jackson, and Jeff Kwatinetz are seeking $1.2 billion in damages from a group of foreign investors, including including the Qatar emir’s half-brother, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, who oversees Qatar Investment Authority, a state-owned entity that focuses on foreign investments.
Big3, which features 3v3 basketball games with mostly retired NBA pros, just finished its inaugural season. The league currently includes 8 teams, which play weekly games in quadruple-headers, with each team playing one of the other teams. The games will be held in a different locale each week, and are presented in what the league bills as a unique ‘festival’ atmosphere featuring notable figures from basketball and “superstar” musical entertainment during halftimes.
In the suit, Cube and Kwatinetz alleged that the Qatari group engaged in a scheme by paying only a portion of their agreed-upon investment and withheld the remainder in order to create leverage intended to balkanize the startup Big3 league, allowing the investors to acquire a controlling interest.
The foreign investor group, operating as Sport Trinity along with three other investors includes Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, a member of the Qatari diplomatic service, Faisal Al-Hamadi, an executive with the Qatar Investment Authority; and Ayman Sabi, an American citizen.
Sport Trinity denied the allegations in the suit, with a spokesman telling the WaPo that the claims are a “blatantly false and malicious fabrication” and added that the investors have “nothing other than act in the best interest of the enterprise.”
Sport Trinity’s spokesman also went on to lay the blame for any issues the league might be facing at Mr. Kwatinetz’s feet and called for his ouster.
“Sport Trinity believes that Mr. Kwatinetz, who has a long history of mismanagement and erratic behavior, and has run a number of lucrative business ventures into the ground … is not the right person to be running the BIG3,” the spokesman told the newspaper.