Basketball player Shaquille O’Neal sued over FTX and NFT
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has been served with legal papers related to the FTX bankruptcy and his NFT project after avoiding process servers for months.
On Tuesday, the basketball icon was served during an NBA playoff game at the Miami sports stadium formerly known as FTX Arena, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
O’Neal received legal papers for two separate lawsuits, one of which was the complaint in the class action against him and other celebrities (including Tom Brady) over the collapse of FTX.
The second lawsuit alleged that he founded and promoted a Solana-based non-fungible token project called Astrals, which the lawsuit claims were “unregistered securities.”
This came as process servers have hounded the NBA legend for months, trying to reach him at his home and studio, and at one point throwing legal papers at his SUV.
On Tuesday night, they got him in Miami at the Kaseya Center during Game 4 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals, according to Adam Moskowitz, an attorney representing the FTX investors.
“It seems absurd to have to go to such lengths to serve Mr. O’Neal,” Moskowitz said.
In a series of tweets posted last month addressing O’Neal, The Moskowitz Law Firm said its lawyers stood all week outside TNT Studios in Atlanta, USA (where O’Neal serves as host), but O’Neal’s security guards would not let them come in to deliver the legal complaint.
“You have been running from us for 3 months and all other FTX celebrities have agreed to receive their complaints,” the law firm wrote at the time.
“Please have the courtesy and honor to simply have our process servers tomorrow deliver our legal complaint on your behalf so you can defend your actions in this case.”
Lawsuit claims O’Neal sold unregistered securities
The 54-page complaint against O’Neal for his ownership of Astrals contains six total claims, accusing the former NBA icon of violating laws such as Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
The complaint alleges that Astral’s NFTs should be considered unregistered securities under the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Howey test.
“The wealth of the Astrals NFT investors, and the value of the Astrals NFTs, was tied almost entirely to O’Neal’s celebrity status and the success of his promotional efforts,” the complaint states.
O’Neal launched the Astrals NFT project in 2022 with music executive Brian Bayati as CEO and son Myles O’Neal as head of investor relations.
But as the markets soured, the floor price of the rally fell, falling from a record high of 16 SOL in April 2022 to today’s price of 1.22 SOL.