Former NBA player Roger Mason Jr. denied he was fired as commissioner of the Big3 because of alleged corruption and said the working ”environment has been hostile and racist.”
Multiple outlets reported Monday that Mason was dismissed because of his ties to two Qatari investors who allegedly owe the 3-on-3 league millions of dollars.
“I was terminated by BIG3 in retaliation for legal claims which I made last week in a letter sent by my attorneys to BIG3 Basketball alleging that the League had breached my employment agreement,” Mason said in the statement, released Monday evening.
“The violations of my agreement centered around BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who has been engaged in a malicious, defamatory campaign of disparaging me in an attempt to prevent me from the performance of contractual duties and responsibilities.
“He has made countless unfounded attacks on my integrity, character, and leadership. The work environment at BIG3 has been hostile and racist resulting in the departure of valuable League personnel.”
He also contends Kwatinetz, who is white, used a racial slur when he referred to black athletes.
Mason, who previously also served as the deputy executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, retired from the NBA in 2014 after 10 seasons.
TMZ.com was first to report the news.
Big3 co-founder Ice Cube has been named the commissioner for the league, which features several former NBA players.
“I am proud of the role I took in taking BIG3 from when it was merely a concept and transformed it into a successful basketball organization,” Mason said. “I am disappointed at the conduct of Ice Cube and other executives of BIG3 in levelling these desperate manufactured claims against me. It will not derail the success of my legitimate claims against the League.”
The Big3, which debuted last year, announced its 2018 schedule earlier Monday detailing a 10-date tour that kicks off June 22 with stops in Houston, Chicago, Oakland, Detroit, Miami, Toronto, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas and New York. Games will be televised on Fox Sport’s FS1 and other Fox channels.
Amar’e Stoudemire, Baron Davis, Ron Artest, Carlos Boozer and Drew Gooden are among those expected to play this season.
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