Report: LeBron James, Drake and Future being sued for $10M over hockey film rights

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and rappers Drake and Future reportedly are being sued for stealing “intellectual property rights” for their documentary film “Black Ice,” which focuses on anti-Black racism in hockey in the early 20th century.

“Hoops star LeBron James and rappers Drake and Future are accused in a new $10 million lawsuit of stealing the ‘intellectual property rights’ to a film — ‘Black Ice’ — about the old, segregated hockey league for black players in Canada, The Post has learned,” the New York Post’s Carl Campanile and Priscilla DeGregory wrote.

“Billy Hunter, former longtime head of the NBA Players Association and ex-federal prosecutor, is seeking a share of profits from the documentary as well as $10 million in damages, in an explosive complaint filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court that alleges he holds the exclusive legal rights to produce any film about the Colored Hockey League that existed from 1895 to the 1930s.”

James and Drake are accused of cutting a deal behind Hunter’s back that allowed them to create the documentary. Apparently, Hunter believes James and Drake made a deal with the authors of the book that the documentary is based on. The book is titled “Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 to 1925.”

“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,” read the lawsuit filed by Hunter’s attorney Larry Hutcher.

George and Darril Fosty, who are the authors of the book, are also listed as defendants in the lawsuit.

“The complaint alleges that when Hunter confronted the authors after hearing of the separate ‘Black Ice’ film deal with James and Drake, the Fostys ‘speciously claimed’ that the ‘competing venture’ did not violate his ‘exclusive worldwide license’ or film rights because the ‘documentary’ was different and did not violate the agreement,” Campanile and DeGregory wrote.

The documentary is expected to be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10. It was directed by Hubert Davis, who is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker.

James has made a name for himself in the entertainment industry through his entertainment companies, including Uninterrupted, as well as his appearance in the movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy.”

It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit plays out, especially with the documentary’s premiere just around the corner.

In the meantime, James is preparing for the 2022-23 NBA season with the Lakers. Los Angeles missed the playoffs last season, but a healthy James and Anthony Davis could push the Lakers back to the top of the Western Conference this season.

Share This Article
Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.