Ice Cube, ex-NBA legends plead for help from Trump in full-page ad


Rapper, actor and entrepreneur Ice Cube announced the Big3 basketball league last January, and play started six months later.

The 3-on-3 league featuring retired NBA stars had a solid first season despite some adversity, and its 2018 season begins play in June.

Ice Cube says one big problem the Big3 has faced is broken promises from a trio of investors connected to the royal family of Qatar — and he’s taking them to court.

Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz filed a lawsuit last week alleging the Persian Gulf investors have withheld millions of dollars in promised funding and claiming that has crippled efforts to elevate the league “to the professional setting of NBA-style arenas and broadcast games.”

The 33-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks $1.2 billion in damages from the group, which includes Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, the CEO of the state-run Qatar Investment Authority.

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Cube and Kwatinetz claim the Qatari investors paid only a third of their agreed-upon $20.5 million investment, withholding the rest in a scheme to force their way into a controlling interest.

“These members and associates of the royal family made excuse after excuse for not paying, all of which is documented in text messages and emails. … The blame for their failure to fund the millions they owed the BIG3 ran the gamut from their ‘sinuses,’ ‘hiking,’ it being a ‘long day bro,’ and to bad press regarding Qatar associations with alleged funding of terrorism,” the lawsuit states.

On Tuesday, Cube and Kwatinetz went beyond the courts and appealed to President Donald Trump for help.

The Big3 founders took out a full-page ad in The New York Times asking the president to defend the league and its athletes during his meeting Tuesday with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

“Hey President Trump,” the ad reads. “When you meet today with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s new friend, the Emir of Qatar, please tell him not to threaten the BIG3 and American athletes!”

Do you think President Trump should intervene on behalf of the Big3 founders?

The ad is signed by Cube and Kwatinetz as well as Hall of Famer Clyde “the Glide” Drexler, the Big3’s commissioner, and its players and coaches.

In addition to the appeal to Trump, the ad features the Big3’s 2018 schedule, which starts June 22 in Houston.

A spokesman for the Qatari investors told The Washington Post that the lawsuit is a “blatantly false and malicious fabrication” and they “have done nothing other than act in the best interest of the enterprise.”

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Trump met with the emir Tuesday at the White House and praised his efforts to help fight terrorism.

“You’ve now become a very big advocate, and we appreciate it,” Trump said. “A lot of countries were funding terrorism and we’re stopping it. It’s getting stopped and fast — very important.”

There was no word on whether the Big3 came up in their conversation.

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Media, Sports