• Ice Cube’s Big3 Basketball League Counters Rival with Defamation Suit
  • October 11, 2017 | Author: Joseph M. Hanna
  • Law Firm: Goldberg Segalla LLP - Buffalo Office
  • On September 15, 2017, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 professional basketball league, Big3 Basketball, filed its own lawsuit against rival league, Champions League Inc. for allegedly falsely telling investors that Big3 stole its players. Big3’s suit is in response to Champions League filing a lawsuit earlier in the month that claimed Big3 caused its failure to launch. Both companies are based on a similar business model of featuring retired NBA players.

    Champions League sued Big3 for $250 million in damages for breaching agreements that allowed players to play in both leagues. In its suit, Champions League claimed it had to postpone its season, which was set to start on August 23, because eight of the 10 starting players for the New York and Los Angeles rosters were blocked by Big3. Champions League also alleged that Ice Cube told some of the players they would be fined or not allowed to share in the player revenue pool.

    However, Big3 retaliated, and called Champions League’s owner, Carl George, “a serial con artist, fraudster, and ponzi-schemer” who continues to blame others for his failure to launch the league and defraud investors through a crowdsourcing website. Big3 alleged that Champions League was a fraudulent scheme and that when it began to collapse due to investors’ frustration and knowledge of the fraud, Champions League attempted to place the blame elsewhere. Specifically, Big3 brought a defamation claim for a statement on a website linked to Champions League, which stated, “[t]he issue is that Big3 violated the agreement that players would be able to play in both leagues even though all the players had prior agreements with the Champions League.” Big3 stated there was never any agreement with Champions League and it never stopped any player from honoring commitments to Champions League.

    Further, Big3 addressed it had three players who informed it of previous dealings with Champions League. Those players had express language in their contracts that allowed them to have a non-exhaustive relationship with Big3 and to fully comply with their other commitments. Big3 completely denies Champions League’s claims.