Last week, LeBron James and Drake were investing in an Italian soccer club. This week they may be hoping that investment pays off quickly, since they’re facing a $10 million lawsuit accusing them of ripping off intellectual property rights connected to a sports documentary they produced last year.
The celebrity business partners produced the documentary “Black Ice,”last year. The film documented the history of the Colored Hockey League, Canada’s segregated professional hockey association in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The problem is that another sports bigwig, Billy Hunter, a past executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, says he paid the authors of a book which the movie was based on $265,000 for movie rights, and that the writers, George and Darril Fosty, then cut a separate deal with The King and Drizzy. The New York Post originally reported the story.
In the lawsuit, Hunter accuses defendants who include four-time NBA champion and MVP James and “Nice for What” singer and Canadian Drake and their entertainment companies of cutting a deal behind his back with the authors of the critically acclaimed book that the documentary is based on — “Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 to 1925.”
The authors, George and Darril Fosty, are also listed as defendants, citing breach of contract for allegedly violating the agreement giving Hunter the rights to produce a movie on the black hockey league and instead working out a side deal with Team LeBron and Drake.
The Colored Hockey League started in 1895 and ended in the 1930s, the Post reported. In many ways, it was Canada’s answer to Negro League Baseball in the U.S: each was a race-separated representation of each country’s most popular sport at the time and each featured Black athletes who could have been competitive, if not dominant, in an integrated sport.
Black Ice is scheduled to premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.