Every story about the Big3 is wild, but you’re going to want to strap in for this one.
Qatari investor Ahmed Al-Rumaihi threatened the lives of Big3 cofounder Jeff Kwatinetz and his family at former NBA player Rasual Butler’s funeral, according to a $1.2 billion lawsuit filed by the basketball league against their partners in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, via The Washington Post.
“Al-Rumaihi became incensed and loudly screamed at Mr. Kwatinetz and threatened his life and his family noting ‘You don’t know who I know in L.A. and what they’re capable of. You should think of your safety and the safety of you and your family,'” the suit, filed by celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos, said.
The lawsuit alleges that exchange came after Qatari investors failed to pay $4 million of an agreed-upon $11.5 million investment into 15 percent of the Big3 (which values the league at $76.7 million.)
For its part, the Qatari Investment Authority, a state-run investment firm chaired by the emir’s brother, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, another defendant in the suit, denied ever entering into an agreement. “Neither the Qatar Investment Authority nor its CEO are investors in, nor have they had any involvement with, Big3,” the firm said in a statement to Yahoo Sports.
Al-Rumaihi allegedly parked his Bentley outside Butler’s funeral in February, and when Kwatinetz emerged, the former Qatar diplomat informed the Big3 cofounder that his investment group, Sport Trinity, not only wasn’t going to pay the $4 million, but demanded a) another 10 percent of the league, b) partner Ayman Sabi be installed as the Big3’s COO and c) “respect as a royal family member.”
“Kwatinetz informed him that respect came with paying monies owed now over six months and refraining from constant lies,” the lawsuit said. Kwatinetz, who lives near where Al-Rumaihi allegedly has armed gunmen at his house in Beverly Hills, immediately called his family and Big3 cofounder Ice Cube before hiring security to protect himself, his wife and newborn and the league’s employees.
Every Ice Cube statement to The Washington Post about this story is amazing:
“It’s like, god****, man, we’re the newest, smallest thing with one season under our belt. Go after the big boys. That’s what this is more about. It’s like we’re going to tell the world what you tried to do. We ain’t no punks. They thought we was just this rapper and this rock guy: ‘We could do ’em.’ Get your [butt] out of here.”
“We just trying to do basketball, man. We’re not trying to be caught up in no international bull****.”
This is the latest in a long line of wild stories regarding the Big3, which began with Allen Iverson — a coach, player, captain and the league’s most marketable participant — not even bothering to show up to the draft in Las Vegas. After the eight teams featuring former NBA stars from Chauncey Billups to Ricky Davis completed a 10-week season, Cube and company fired commissioner Roger Mason Jr., the former deputy executive director of the NBA Players Association, amid this same corruption scandal.
Mason allegedly introduced Cube and Kwatinetz to the Qatari investors and pushed for the partnership. He was fired after citing his relationship with the investors as reason for not wanting “to get in the middle of” arbitration between the two sides, per the lawsuit, which claimed the Qataris bribed Mason and other Big3 employees with offers of Ibiza vacations, yacht parties and side deals.
Following his firing, Mason accused the Big3 of breaching his contract and creating a “hostile and racist” work environment. Mason specifically charged Kwatinetz with making “countless unfounded attacks on my integrity, character and leadership” and referring to black athletes as “rich n******.”
To which Cube responded, via The Washington Post on Friday, “Everybody, including myself, knew and took it as straight bull****. We felt like it really gave us a sense of how desperate Roger really was.”
The Big3 is scheduled to launch its second season in June. The league is seeking $1.2 billion, or $20 million per player, each of whom shares revenue in the Big3, for damages inflicted by the Qataris.
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