The NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is facing another crypto-related lawsuit. Only this time, it concerns his own NFT project, Astrals.
O’Neal is one of a coterie of high-profile crypto endorsers and promoters to land in legal trouble. To hear O’Neal tell it, he has simply acted like paid endorses for any product or service you might see on TV. How much merit do the latest claims have?
Shaquille O’Neal Sued
An American basketball legend, Shaquille O’Neal faces ongoing legal difficulties for his ties to the crypto industry. Although, as related in a May 23 Hollywood Reporter story, this time the former NBA star is in trouble for promoting his Astrals NFT.
Investor Daniel Harper filed a proposed class action in Florida federal court on Tuesday. Harper accuses O’Neal of violating securities laws by selling unregistered Astrals tokens. He contends that the former NBA star disregarded potential regulatory concerns over the sale of unregistered crypto securities. O’Neal denies any wrongdoing.
Last year, O’Neal created his Astrals NFT project alongside his music manager, Brian Bayati, and his son, Myles O’Neal. The group has partnered with Solana Labs for the venture. The collection includes 10,000 “metaverse-ready” 3D avatars designed by artist Damien Guimoneau.
O’Neal Under Fire
O’Neal is also under fire for his connection to the disgraced FTX exchange. The complaint names the basketball star among several celebrity defendants. Others include NFL icon Tom Brady, tennis star Naomi Osaka, and comedian Larry David.
The complaint states that by using the FTX platform, customers engaged in buying and selling “unregistered securities” regulated by the SEC. Consequently, O’Neal and other celebrity backers were required to disclose their financial agreements with FTX. The complaint also argues that celebrity ambassadors like O’Neal are “responsible for the many billions of dollars in damages they caused.”
O’Neal featured in ads for FTX, but has tried to distance himself from the company by asserting that he was merely a paid spokesperson. Acting the same way as others who appear in ads for various products.
However, a dispute has arisen in the ongoing case regarding allegations that he has been evading efforts to serve him with legal papers. Opposing lawyers claim to have been attempting to deliver the documents to O’Neal for several months. The NBA star has denied these allegations.
FTX Claims Are “Nonsense”
Last month, defense lawyers requested the dismissal of the case. The defense argues that if the investors’ claim holds true, it would imply that actors in any brokerage advertisement could be held accountable for selling any investment purchased by a user through the brokerage. Celebrities have rejected this notion as completely meritless.
O’Neal has been in the NFT game since as early as 2021. He caused a stir when he changed his Twitter profile picture to the Ethereum-based Creature World NFT. The resulting hype lead to a remarkable 1,164% surge in sales volume within a twenty-four-hours.
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