It’s been just over a year since we first reported on the trials and tribulations of the Champions Basketball League, a semi-pro league that used false promises to bilk hundreds of thousands of dollars out of investors who were sold on the opportunity to own a piece of a basketball team full of former NBA players. The league, which was originally supposed to have 16 teams and had its inaugural season delayed many times, has yet to play a single game and has been involved in a number of lawsuits. One of those lawsuits was just voluntarily dismissed, and in humiliating fashion.
Back in September 2017, Champions League founder Carl George attempted to lay the blame for the CBL’s continued inability to get off the ground at the feet of the Big3 basketball league. In a $250 million lawsuit filed against the Big3, George claimed that players who had agreed to play for both the Big3 and the CBL were prevented from doing so by the Big3, thus depriving the CBL of enough players to start the season. Yesterday, George and the CBL officially dropped their suit against the Big3.
Before that, things got strange. On June 14, the attorney representing George was granted a motion to withdraw, citing a failure to “pay counsel for legal services rendered.” George was able to find new counsel, but in the meantime, attorneys representing the Big3 continued to show what a sham the CBL was.
One of the ways George sold his league to investors was by touting the involvement of various celebrities. He told me that Nicki Minaj was going to give a halftime performance at the first game; he told The Ringer—which published an embarrassingly kind profile of him—that Cardi B and T.I. would be performing at the same game, and that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was interested in becoming a celebrity owner. An email sent from a CBL representative to potential investors boasted about the involvement of Tom Brady and Jimmy Kimmel.
On July 26, the Big3's attorneys submitted a letter to the court that included a declaration from Tom Brady that he has never been involved with the CBL in any way:
The letter also included an email from attorneys representing Jimmy Kimmel, which stated that their client had no affiliation with the CBL:
George went on trying to convince his investors that everything was fine. On August 7, he sent an email to investors in the league’s non-existent New York team, the Gotham Ballers, assuring them that the CBL would win its case against the Big3 and that 25 percent of any financial rewards from the case would be shared with investors. The email also claimed that the league’s first game would finally be played on August 26 at the University of Miami, and that the first few games of the season would be launched by the PrimeTime Basketball League, of which Byron Scott is the CEO:
We have made the decision to launch these Showcase games through PrimeTime Basketball League. Byron Scott who became our CEO on March 1 to launch basketball, is now also the CEO of PrimeTime Basketball League (as of July 1). PrimeTime is headed up by Bharat Parikh who is also a lead owner of the New York, Miami and LA teams. Bharat recognized that we are marred in the lawsuit with the Big 3 and came to us to create PrimeTime Basketball League to get the games back underway. Champions is also a shareholder in PrimeTime.
Over the course of the next three days, George received cease-and-desist letters from attorneys representing both PrimeTime Basketball League and Byron Scott.
The letter from PrimeTime Basketball’s attorney:
And from Scott’s attorney:
Meanwhile, those who invested in the Gotham Ballers and the league’s Los Angeles-based team, the L.A. Superstars, a group of 1,000 people who invested a combined $705,033 in two basketball teams that have yet to show any substantial evidence of actually existing, have been discussing a class-action lawsuit in the comments section of the teams’ respective investment pages. When reached for comment yesterday, one investor said that he and others have been in contact with an attorney and plan to move forward with a lawsuit.