An investigation into the NBA is underway after the organization allegedly targeted Ice Cube’s BIG3 league through antitrust violations.
According to TMZ Sports, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched an inquiry into the National Basketball Association after it reportedly exhibited anticompetitive behavior to eliminate the Big3’s growth as an entity of its own.
The allegations include reports that the NBA supposedly used its status to prevent sponsors and potential partners from doing business with the league started by Ice Cube and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz. The NBA also reportedly attempted to deter television networks from broadcasting the new league’s games.
Cube’s Big3 was launched in 2017 and consisted of nearly all retired NBA players.
What’s more, current NBA players have reportedly expressed a desire to play in the 3-on-3 league. However, according to the Big3, the professional organization has put “arbitrary rules in place to stop players from hooping” with the league.
The outlet points out that the NBA and Big3 don’t have seasons that overlap, and it isn’t uncommon for current NBA players, including stars such as LeBron James, to play in non-NBA games once their season has concluded.
For example, the Los Angeles Drew League is frequented by NBA players well after the regular season.
As previously reported by AFROTECH, this is not the first time that Ice Cube has accused the NBA of attempting to thwart his plans with the Big3.
In addition to targeting players, it has also been reported that NBA owners have been discouraged from investing in the Big3 while they own an NBA franchise.
At this time, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told TMZ the “claims are not true.”
“We have been supportive of the Big3 since its inception, but we declined to invest,” Bass said.
According to a source familiar with the current DOJ investigation, Ice Cube and Kwatinetz reportedly met with DOJ lawyers earlier in the year.
NBA owners are said to have officially received contact from investigators on the case as well.
Should it be proven that the league did commit antitrust violations, reports reveal that the NBA could receive a significant fine.