Shaq faces legal challenges related to crypto approvals and NFT project
Shaquille O’Neal, the basketball legend turned television analyst, is now embroiled in two separate lawsuits related to the cryptocurrency sector. These lawsuits came to light in dramatic fashion on Tuesday, May 23, during a live NBA broadcast.
O’Neal, a ubiquitous presence in the wider digital asset industry, was handed legal documents regarding his association with now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX and his non-fungible token (NFT) initiative, Astrals, at Miami’s Kaseya Arena. Notably, the venue was formerly known as the FTX Arena, named after the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange.
The two lawsuits
The first lawsuit involves O’Neal and other celebrities, such as former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who endorsed FTX. The plaintiffs in this case, represented by The Moskowitz Law Firm and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, accuse the defendants of promoting a financial platform that later went bankrupt.
The second lawsuit focuses on O’Neal’s involvement in Astrals, an NFT project that launched in 2022. The plaintiffs claim that Astral’s NFTs were unregistered securities, with the value of the tokens closely tied to O’Neal’s celebrity status and promotional efforts. The suit alleges that the project misled investors and that O’Neal, along with his son Myles and business partner Brian Bayati, violated securities laws.
Astrals, built on the Solana blockchain, has 10,000 “metaverse-ready” avatars underpinned by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and an engaging role-playing game. The project also announced “Shaq Signature Passes,” a unique NFT linked to O’Neal’s digital signature.
However, the lawsuit alleges that O’Neal ended his involvement with the project’s community after the collapse of FTX, a move that critics say devalued the project and its tokens.
The legal actions against O’Neal have been marred by alleged attempts by the basketball star to avoid service. In April, O’Neal’s attorneys contested that legal documents related to the FTX lawsuit were improperly served, claiming the papers were thrown at O’Neal’s vehicle rather than handed to him directly.
However, attorney Adam Moskowitz of The Moskowitz Law Firm claims that these claims are just delaying tactics. In an interview with Front Office Sportshe revealed that O’Neal was served the legal papers directly during the NBA game, putting an end to this service-related claim.
Under the legal process, O’Neal has 20 days from the date of service to respond to the lawsuits. As the cases progress, it’s clear that O’Neal’s transition from the basketball court to the court will be closely scrutinized, and the results could have significant implications for the intersection of celebrity endorsements and the crypto industry.
Editor’s note: This article was written by an nft employee in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-4.