Shaquille O’Neal faces legal troubles for his alleged promotion of FTX Exchange and Astrals NFT project, both accused of defrauding investors.
Shaquille O’Neal received two complaints about his crypto endorsements while broadcasting an NBA game on Tuesday night.
The former basketball star was served with the complaints at the ex-FTX Arena in Miami (now renamed the Kaseya Center), where he had promoted FTX before.
The other complaint was about his involvement in ASTRALS, an NFT project he and his son co-founded.
The process server recorded the encounter to avoid confusion, as O’Neal has been avoiding servers for months. O’Neal then had the server thrown out of the venue.
Previous attempts to serve O’Neal with the FTX class-action lawsuit had failed, with the basketball star claiming that process servers had mishandled the delivery of the papers.
Adam Moskowitz, the lawyer who filed both cases, served O’Neal with the FTX class-action lawsuit during the game. The suit claims that O’Neal’s endorsement misled investors and potentially exacerbated their financial losses.
This incident showcases O’Neal’s response to the litigation and his desire to distance himself from the legal proceedings. How O’Neal and his legal team will respond to the allegations against him in the FTX lawsuit remains to be seen.
Astrals NFT lawsuit
In addition to the FTX class-action lawsuit, the other complaint was about O’Neal’s involvement in the ASTRALS NFT project that he and his son, Myles O’Neal, founded.
ASTRALS is a Solana-based NFT project that aims to create a virtual world where users can socialize and trade unique avatars.
The lawsuit claims that O’Neal founded and promoted this NFT project, which the plaintiffs argue constituted “unregistered securities.”
The complaint asserts that the NFTs sold by Astrals were, in fact, investment contracts falling under the Howey Test.
The plaintiffs allege that they suffered investment losses due to O’Neal’s actions and seek damages accordingly.
The lawsuit raises questions about O’Neal’s current involvement in the Astrals NFT project, noting that he has not made any recent contributions to the project’s Discord channel since January.
This detail adds to the complexity of the case, as it seeks to establish O’Neal’s level of responsibility and influence over the alleged sale of unregistered securities.
O’Neal’s legal team will likely need to address these claims and present a clear defense against the allegations.
In the FTX lawsuit, O’Neal is named alongside Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Steph Curry, Naomi Osaka and Larry David.
The lawsuit claims that the celebrities duped investors into investing in FTX, which filed for bankruptcy after being accused of fraud.
Shaq’s reputation at stake amid FTX lawsuits
O’Neal, a prominent brand spokesperson since retiring from the NBA in 2011, appeared in several commercials and campaigns for FTX.
However, since its downfall, he has tried to distance himself from the company. He told CNBC in December that he was “just a paid spokesperson for a commercial” and not involved in FTX.
He has also pursued various ventures outside of basketball, such as rap music, movies, and endorsements. His nicknames include Shaq, The Big Aristotle, The Diesel, Superman, and Shaq Fu.
Regardless of the legal outcomes, these lawsuits could damage Shaquille O’Neal’s reputation.
The allegations of endorsing a bankrupt exchange and promoting unregistered securities could tarnish O’Neal’s public image as a former basketball star turned media personality and business mogul.
How O’Neal manages these legal challenges and addresses the claims made against him will play a crucial role in determining the impact on his reputation.