In a press release sent out on Tuesday, the organization announced the West Coast rap legend would be the inaugural recipient of the eponymous award.
According to the release, the award will honor Cube’s “extraordinary contributions to the world of basketball, his unparalleled passion for the game, and his unwavering commitment to encouraging crucial dialogues surrounding inclusivity, equal opportunity, and racial and social justice while contributing to initiatives focused on education and community development.”
Ice Cube addressed the recognition in his own statement: “The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Award named in my honor is truly remarkable, and words alone can’t express my gratitude for this recognition from such a prestigious organization,” he said.
He added: “Having an award bearing my name only intensifies my commitment to advancing inclusivity and equal opportunity in sports, alongside my unwavering dedication to community activism.”
President and CEO of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame John L. Doleva added: “Ice Cube’s unquestionable passion for the game and his desire to see it utilized as a catalyst for positive impact on communities are unwavering. His sphere of influence in both the entertainment industry and in the professional sports arena brings remarkable authenticity and value to this award.”
The Ice Cube Impact Award will be presented to the rapper at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 15, 2024, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Naismith Hall of Fame will also keep the Ice Cube Impact Award in its museum and honor subsequent award winners each year “through a dedicated exhibit and in-depth storytelling about honorees who use basketball as a platform for good works in their own communities.”
The honor comes after the rapper alleged that the NBA has been actively trying to prevent his BIG3 league from prospering. Last month, TMZ reported that the Department of Justice had already launched an investigation into the matter. NBA spokesperson Mike Bass denied all of the allegations made against the league in a statement to TMZ.
“Those claims are not true,” he said. “We have been supportive of the BIG3 since its inception, but we declined to invest.”