According to the NY Post, the former longtime head of the NBA Players Association, Billy Hunter, is seeking a share of profits from the documentary in addition to the $10 Million after alleging to the Manhattan state Supreme Court that he holds exclusive legal rights to produce any film about the Colored Hockey League that existed from 1895 to the 1930s.
In the lawsuit, Hunter accuses James, Drake, and their entertainment companies of cutting a deal behind his back with the authors of the book that the documentary is based on called Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 to 1925.
The authors, George and Darril Fosty, are also cited as defendants in the suit, citing breach of contract for allegedly violating an agreement they made with Hunter, giving him the rights to produce a movie on the Black hockey league.
The suit mentions Hunter paid the authors $265,000 in February 2022 for exclusive movie rights to any “audiovisual” adaptation of the Black Ice story.
“I don’t think they believed the property rights would be litigated,” said Hunter.
“They thought I would go away. They gambled,”
“While the defendants LeBron James, Drake, and Maverick Carter [LeBron’s business partner] are internationally known and renowned in their respective fields of basketball and music, it does not afford them the right to steal another’s intellectual property,” says Hunter’s attorney, Larry Hutcher.
The suit also alleges that Uniterrupted Inc., James' company, offered the authors $100,000 to acquire the “already optioned” rights to produce a documentary about the Black Ice story and agreed to pay the authors 3% of the total movie budget.
“The Uninterrupted defendants paid those sums to induce the Authors to breach
their Agreement with Plaintiff,” the suit alleges.
The documentary will be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10.