What do Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, the Emir of Qatar, Ice Cube and Clyde Drexler all have in common? They’re all named in a bonkers ad Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league took out Tuesday in the New York Times
The ad — signed by Ice Cube, co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz and commissioner Drexler — jabbed Trump for his association with the Emir of Qatar, who has allegedly worked with the Qatari investors Ice Cube is suing for $1.2 billion. Conveniently, the ad also features a list of prominent former NBA stars set to play in the BIG3’s second season this summer, as well as the league’s schedule.
And the BIG3 took out a full-page ad in today’s NYTimes asking Trump to ask the Emir of Qatar “not to threaten the BIG3 and American athletes.” Signed by Ice Cube, Jeff Kwatinetz and Clyde Drexler pic.twitter.com/7uWnvlRrDV
— Rick Maese (@RickMaese) April 10, 2018
Last week, Ice Cube filed a lawsuit against a trio of Persian Gulf investors, claiming they paid out only a third of $20.5 million in funding they promised to BIG3, then attempted to stiff-arm their way into an ownership stake in the league. Via the New York Post:
The strained relationship reached a breaking point in February when Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, a trio member who once served as a Qatar diplomat to the US, demanded a 25 percent ownership stake and a show of respect for the investor’s status as “a royal family member,” according to the suit.
“You don’t know who I know in LA and what they’re capable of!” al-Rumaihi allegedly screamed after Kwatinetz responded by demanding cash that was already owed, the suit alleges. “You should think of your safety and the safety of you and your family.”
Ice Cube has alleged that the investors have close ties to Qatar’s royal family, which is headed by the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The Emir is currently visiting the United States and was scheduled to have lunch with Trump on Tuesday.
From the tone of BIG3’s ad, it’s fairly clear that the goal is not actually to get Trump to call out his guest but rather to use an extremely grabby heading to draw some eyeballs to their schedule and raise some awareness of their league.
And you know what? It worked. As we know from the ad, BIG3 will return June 22 in Houston, with its entire schedule broadcast live on a Fox network.