The NBA’s squarely within the sights of the USA Division of Justice over accusations The Affiliation labored to torpedo Ice Dice‘s Big3 basketball league … allegations the NBA denies.
TMZ Sports activities has realized the DOJ launched the inquiry months in the past, analyzing alleged anticompetitive conduct on the a part of the NBA, geared toward squashing the Big3‘s development.
These allegations, we’re instructed, vary from the NBA purportedly throwing its weight round to stop sponsors and others potential companions from doing enterprise with the rap legend’s league … to discouraging tv networks from carrying Big3 video games.
Dice and enterprise accomplice Jeff Kwatinetz launched the 3-on-3 league, made up nearly solely of retired NBA gamers, in 2017.
Some present gamers have expressed a want to play in Dice’s league within the offseason, however we’re instructed, because the Big3 sees it, the NBA has prevented guys from doing so, placing arbitrary guidelines in place to cease gamers from hooping in Ice’s league.
FYI, the NBA and Big3 seasons don’t overlap.
After all, it is a common incidence for NBA gamers, together with a number of the largest stars on the planet like LeBron James, to hoop in non-NBA video games after the season ends … akin to L.A.’s famed Drew League.
Big3 officers, in response to sources aware of the investigation, consider they have been unfairly focused by the NBA.
We have additionally been instructed NBA homeowners have been discouraged from investing within the Big3 whereas concurrently proudly owning a franchise.
Referees have not been immune, both, in response to a supply … who says they have been instructed they can’t officiate for the Big3, regardless of some working for different organizations outdoors of the NBA.
A supply aware of the Dept. of Justice investigation tells us Dice and Kwatinetz met with DOJ legal professionals throughout the first half of the 12 months. We’re additionally instructed investigators have begun reaching out to NBA homeowners as a part of their investigation.
If the federal government finally finds the league dedicated antitrust violations, the NBA might face a big superb.
We reached out to the league for remark … and NBA spokesman Mike Bass, addressing the allegations of sponsorship and TV community interference, pressuring potential Big3 companions, and others, instructed us, “These claims aren’t true.”
Bass additionally added … “We’ve got been supportive of the Big3 since its inception, however we declined to speculate.”
We reached out to the U.S. Division of Justice and the Big3 … who each declined remark.