With a vacancy at commissioner created by a split with Roger Mason Jr., Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league promoted from within, naming Clyde Drexler, a 10-time N.B.A. All-Star, to lead the fledgling three-on-three league for the next three years.
The turnaround from Mason’s dismissal to Drexler’s hiring took just three days, and the announcement on Thursday came with the additional news that Drexler, who coached in the league last season, would join a reworked Big3 board of directors.
“I wholeheartedly believe in what Ice Cube and Jeff have brought to life with the Big3,” Drexler said in a statement, referencing the league’s co-founders, Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz. “The level of play and the professionalism I witnessed last season far exceeded anything that many of us involved ever imagined.”
Drexler, a Hall of Famer who played 15 years in the N.B.A., replaces Mason, who was terminated on Monday as a result of the league believing he had an inappropriate relationship with two Qatari investors. Mason attracted the investors to the league as minority shareholders, but they failed to meet their financial obligations. Mason, who in a statement accused the league of smearing him, emphatically denied the accusation.
The firing of Mason on the same day the league announced the schedule for its second season created a chaotic atmosphere, but with Drexler’s appointment the league is hoping to shift the focus back to its on-court product. The league’s sophomore season, which begins on June 22, has been bolstered by the recent additions of big-name players such as the former N.B.A. stars Amar’e Stoudemire, Baron Davis and Metta World Peace.
The league’s board, which included Ice Cube, Kwatinetz and Amy Trask, its chairwoman, will be expanded to include Drexler and the former N.B.A. players Chauncey Billups, Jermaine O’Neal, Corey Maggette and Jerome Williams and the league’s lawyer, Mark Geragos.
The appointment comes among controversy as the league’s previous commissioner, Roger Mason Jr, was terminated over allegations of corruption. Mason disputed the allegations in a statement released Monday.
“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.