Ice Cube is being honored by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with the inaugural Ice Cube Impact Award – and it’s left the rap legend at a loss for words.
According to a press release on Tuesday (November 14), the collaboration will honor Cube’s “extraordinary contributions to the world of basketball, his unparalleled passion for the game and his unwavering commitment to encouraging crucial dialogues surrounding inclusivity, equal opportunity, and racial and social justice while contributing to initiatives focused on education and community development.”
In a statement, the BIG3 basketball league creator said: “The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Award named in my honor is truly remarkable, and words alone can’t express my gratitude for this recognition from such a prestigious organization.”
He added: “Having an award bearing my name only intensifies my commitment to advancing inclusivity and equal opportunity in sports, alongside my unwavering dedication to community activism.”
The Naismith Hall of Fame will permanently house the Ice Cube Impact Award in its museum and honor subsequent award winners each year “through a dedicated exhibit and in-depth storytelling about honorees who use basketball as a platform for good works in their own communities.”
President and CEO of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame John L. Doleva added: “Ice Cube’s unquestionable passion for the game and his desire to see it utilized as a catalyst for positive impact on communities are unwavering. His sphere of influence in both the entertainment industry and in the professional sports arena brings remarkable authenticity and value to this award.”
Doleva continued: “We are delighted to join hands with Ice Cube as he leverages his love of the game to inspire others. The Ice Cube Impact Award will stand as a testament to the power of basketball and the profound impact it can have on communities worldwide.”
The Ice Cube Impact Award will be presented to Ice Cube at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15, 2024) in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, Ice Cube’s recent allegations that the NBA have been trying to to “destroy” his BIG3 basketball league have spawned an investigation by the U.S. Government.
According to TMZ, the Department of Justice quietly launched an investigation “months ago” over claims that the NBA attempted to stifle Cube’s 3-on-3 league, violating antitrust laws.
The West Coast rap legend has long blown the whistle regarding the National Basketball Association’s alleged efforts to slow the progress of BIG3. His claims include the NBA discouraging potential sponsors and television networks from partnering with his burgeoning brand.
BIG3 officials also believe the NBA has targeted them unfairly and pressured owners not to invest in its league.
Cube further believes that the NBA has implemented rules disallowing their current players from participating in BIG3 games, despite them being free to play in other off-season competitions like the Drew League.
Even referees have been caught in the cross-fire as they allegedly haven’t been able to double-dip in the NBA and BIG3, which operate on different schedules.
Ice Cube and BIG3 co-owner Jeff Kwatinetz reportedly met with the DOJ earlier this year and the NBA could be facing a hefty fine if found in violation of the antitrust laws.
NBA spokesperson Mike Bass denied all of the allegations levied against the league in a statement to TMZ. “Those claims are not true,” he said. “We have been supportive of the BIG3 since its inception, but we declined to invest.”
Cube pushed back claiming that they never asked for the NBA to invest in the league.
“Correction: BIG3 never asked the NBA to invest, we just want them to stop pressuring individuals and corporations not to invest in the BIG3. They must be stopped,” he wrote on Twitter.
Ice Cube previously told Joe Rogan in June that his growing basketball league will have to fight back against the NBA’s alleged campaign for it to survive and thrive in the future.
“We’re not trying to compete in any shape or form with the NBA. We’re very complimentary,” he said. “So I don’t understand the things that’s being done behind the scenes. Encouraging people to not sponsor us. Encouraging networks not to play us.”
“We’ve been able to survive but at a certain point it’s just redundant and ridiculous and we gotta fight back in some shape or form,” he added.
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