The BIG3 fired ex-NBA player Roger Mason Jr. as commissioner of the fledgling three-on-three basketball league, charging the former National Basketball Players Association deputy executive director with corruption in a recent letter to players, coaches and staff, according to TMZ Sports.
Mason reportedly secured the BIG3’s investment from Qatari businessmen Ayman Sabi and Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, but when they came under investigation for withholding millions of dollars from the league, the former San Antonio Spurs guard reportedly failed to comply, citing his relationship with the men.
The league claimed to have found evidence of the Qatari businessmen “showering certain BIG3 employees with gifts and vacations while refusing to pay the league,” according to TMZ Sports.
A vice president in the players’ union at the end of his 10-year NBA career, Mason is perhaps most famous for the “How U?” tweet that inadvertently signaled the end of the 2011 lockout. He played a significant role in negotiations that left players with less of the NBA’s basketball-related income.
In his post-playing career, Mason — a University of Virginia product — rose to second in command for the NBPA, before abruptly leaving his post in December 2016 to join the BIG3 as commissioner.
BIG3 founder Ice Cube reportedly named himself commissioner in Mason’s stead.
Mason has denied the allegations levied in the TMZ report and countered with accusations of his own of a “hostile and racist” work environment. He claims that he was fired after filing legal action that the BIG3 had breached his employment agreement and that co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz was “engaged in a malicious, defamatory campaign” to disparage him.
Roger Mason Jr. just released a statement strongly disputing his firing from the BIG3 and calling the company's work environment "hostile and racist." pic.twitter.com/gLKt23Cd9Y
— Matt Dollinger (@matt_dollinger) March 12, 2018
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