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Basketball’s Shaquille O’Neal Sued Over FTX and NFT

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: shaq / Instagram

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has been served legal papers related to the FTX bankruptcy and his NFT project after eluding 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 by The Wall Street Journal

O’Neal received legal papers for two separate lawsuits, one of which was the complaint in the class action filed against him and other celebrities (including Tom Brady) over the collapse of FTX.

The other lawsuit alleged that he founded and promoted a Solana-based nonfungible token project called Astrals, which the lawsuit claims were “unregistered securities.”

This came as process servers have been pursuing the NBA legend for months, trying to reach him at his homes and studio, and at one point tossed 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, a lawyer representing the FTX investors. 

“It seems absurd to have to go to such great lengths to serve Mr. O’Neal,” Moskowitz said. 

In a series of tweets posted last month addressing O’Neal, The Moskowitz Law Firm said their lawyers stood all week outside the TNT Studios in Atlanta, USA (where O’Neal acts as a host), but O’Neal’s security guards would not let them inside to hand-deliver the legal complaint.

“You’ve been running from us for 3 months & all other FTX celebrities have agreed to receive their complaints,” the law firm wrote at the time. 

“Please have the courtesy & honor to simply allow our process servers tomorrow to deliver our legal complaint on your behalf, so you can defend your actions in this matter.”

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 like Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. 

The complaint alleges that Astrals NFTs should be considered unregistered securities under the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Howey Test. 

“The fortunes of the Astrals NFT investors, and the value of the Astrals NFTs, were linked 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 his music manager Brian Bayati as CEO and his son Myles O’Neal as the head of investor relations. 

However, as markets turned sour, the floor price of the collection tumbled, dropping from an all-time high of 16 SOL in April 2022 to its current price of 1.22 SOL.