Shaquille O’Neal hit with crypto-related lawsuits while broadcasting NBA game

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Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal received legal documents for two crypto-related lawsuits while live-broadcasting an NBA game on Tuesday evening at the venue previously known as FTX Arena.

The first legal case involves well-known personalities such as seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, four-time NBA champion Stephen Curry and businessman and Shark Tank personality Kevin O’Leary, who endorsed the now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants are accountable for the extensive financial losses of billions of dollars they have purportedly inflicted.

Meanwhile, the second lawsuit targets the Hall of Famer and his NFT venture, Astrals, which was introduced in March last year. The legal complaint claims that the NFTs offered by Astrals were unregistered securities.

The Moskowitz Law Firm and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP lead the two lawsuits. It was previously reported that O’Neal had avoided being served with legal papers, hindering the progress of the court proceedings. However, attorney Adam Moskowitz has confirmed that the legal actions can proceed as planned.

Writing to Decrypt, Moskowitz said that the team can now focus on the substantive aspects of the case rather than dealing with the unnecessary distractions caused by O’Neal’s evasion.

“It is good that we can start with the merits, instead of the silly service sideshow Mr. O’Neal unfortunately created,” Moskowitz wrote. “It seems absurd to have to go to such great lengths to serve Mr. O’Neal.”

Details of lawsuits

Last month, Moskowitz’s law firm declared they had successfully served O’Neal regarding the FTX lawsuit. However, O’Neal’s legal team responded weeks ago, asserting they were allegedly thrown at the NBA star’s car instead of personally delivering the legal documents.

The lawsuit targets O’Neal’s ownership of Astrals, presenting 54 pages of evidence and six allegations, claiming that O’Neal has violated laws such as Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

The legal filing argues that Astrals NFTs should be classified as unregistered securities based on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Howey Test.

According to a section of the project’s white paper mentioned in the legal filing, Astrals was a Solana-based NFT project featuring 10,000 “metaverse-ready” avatars. The project aimed to incorporate a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and a captivating role-playing game where players could earn rewards through gameplay.

The complaint emphasizes that Astrals NFT investors’ success and the tokens’ value relied on O’Neal’s celebrity status and the effectiveness of his promotional efforts. It also outlines Shaq’s involvement in the digital assets industry, documenting his entry into the Web3 domain and claiming that Astrals has misled investors.

The lawsuit alleges that the project was primarily treated as a marketing venture instead of a community-centered NFT project when O’Neal launched the project and appointed his son, Myles O’Neal, as the head of investor relations.

The 54-page complaint centers on how O’Neal promoted the project, including social media endorsements and appearances as DJ Diesel during musical performances. It also revealed that the former Los Angeles Lakers center’s final interaction with the Astrals community had occurred on January 2 via the project’s Discord server.

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