LeBron James’s Media Company Sued Over “More Than An Athlete” Slogan
The suit hopes to stop James and his co-defendants from using the phrase
Responding in 2018 to Fox News personality Laura Ingraham’s “shut up and dribble” attack, LeBron James famously countered with an Instagram post asserting that he is “more than an athlete,” cementing his place as one of the NBA’s leading activists. That tagline, now trademarked, has landed James in legal hot water, as a youth group out of Maryland is suing them for $33 million over its contested usage.
Game Plan Inc. filed a suit in federal court this week over James’s usage of the phrase, claiming that they had trademarked the similar “I Am More Than An Athlete” in 2016. The suit names James’s media company, Uninterrupted, as well as Nike, ESPN and Take-Two Interactive Software — the makers of the popular NBA 2K series, which has used the slogan — as defendants.
On top of the money, Game Plan also seeks to stop those entities from using the slogan going forward.
In a statement replying to the suit, Uninterrupted claimed that there is no basis for it:
The complaint filed by Game Plan today is meritless and contains numerous factual inaccuracies. Uninterrupted owns prior rights in and to the More Than An Athlete trademark.
There has been no comment from the other parties involved in the suit; Nike has produced gear with the slogan on it, while ESPN produces a show with James that used the tagline.
Game Plan’s case dates back to 2017, when players who are a part of the group wore T-shirts with the slogan on it to a Cleveland Cavaliers-Washington Wizards game; James was still on the Cavaliers at the time, and a photo of players wearing the shirts with Wizards star John Wall made the rounds shortly after. The group hopes to use this as a point of evidence that James stole the slogan, as his reply to Ingraham’s comments occurred just a few months later.
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