The New York Post reported that the former executive of the NBA Players Association, Billy Hunters, is suing LeBron James, Drake, and other parties for allegedly violating his intellectual property rights regarding a documentary about Black Canadian hockey. In the lawsuit, Hunter claims that he paid the writers of the book about the story for the IP rights to create an “audiovisual version” of the story. He is suing for $10 million in damages.
Meanwhile, the book was published by George and Darril Fosty, who are also defendants in Hunter’s lawsuit, and is titled Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925. Hunter’s attorney, Larry Hutcher of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, said that Hunter had purchased the right to make a movie.
“He believes in the project; he thinks it’s a great story. He invested a lot of money into preserving it,” Hutcher said.
Moreover, the lawsuit argues that despite Hunter reportedly objecting to the transaction and, in November 2021, sending a letter claiming breach of contract, the authors of the book struck a deal with LeBron James and his collages.
“They went to Billy, and Billy said, ‘I have no interest in selling my rights,'” Hutcher said.
According to the summary at the back of the book, the book details how descendants of enslaved people who had fled the United States founded a hockey league in Canada. They transformed the winter sport from the archaic gentleman’s pastime of the nineteenth century to the contemporary fast-paced game.
The documentary, which claims to examine black contributions to Canadian hockey, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before making its theatrical debut after touring the festival circuit.
The Springhill Company and Uninterrupted Canada, the publisher of the Frosty book, producer Future, James’ business partner Maverick Carter, the company that released the film First Take Entertainment, as well as the singer and rapper Drake’s entertainment company Dreamcrew Entertainment are all listed as defendants, according to the New York Post.
The great LeBron James has been playing for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2003. He is also an entrepreneur with roughly $1 billion estimated net worth. Meanwhile, Hunter got fired from the National Basketball Players Association by a unanimous vote after an independent investigation by a law firm revealed that he was misusing his position.