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Mason calls BIG3 'hostile and racist' after being fired over corruption claims

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty

Roger Mason Jr. is turning the tables on the BIG3.

Hours after reports emerged suggesting Mason was fired from his role as the league commissioner due to corruption allegations, the retired NBA player denied the claims and explained why he was let go.

"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 provided to SI.

"The violations of my agreement centered around BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who has been engaged in a malicious, defamatory campaign of disparaging me in an attempt to prevent me from the performance of contractual duties and responsibilities."

Mason, 37, then accused Kwatinetz of making "countless unfounded attacks on (his) integrity, character, and leadership" and painted a broader picture of a toxic work culture.

"The work environment at BIG3 has been hostile and racist, resulting in the departure of valuable league personnel. Among other matters, a former employee of BIG3 recently told me that Kwatinetz has repeatedly referred to black athletes as 'rich n------.'"

The former journeyman was reportedly canned for bringing in two Qatari investors and siding with them after the BIG3 sued them for allegedly cheating the league out of millions of dollars in investments. He accused BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube and others of making up those claims.

"I am disappointed at the conduct of Ice Cube and other executives of BIG3 in leveling these desperate manufactured claims against me. It will not derail the success of my legitimate claims against the league," he said.

Despite his unceremonious exit, Mason said he's proud of his role in the conception and development of the league, which completed its inaugural season last summer. Ice Cube will fill in as the commissioner until a new one is named.

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