Attorneys for Giannis Antetokounmpo have filed a lawsuit against Leaf Trading Cards over the use of the NBA superstar’s “Greek Freak” nickname and likeness.
The 21-page suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges trademark infringement and dilution.
The suit says Leaf and Antetokounmpo made a deal just prior to the 2013 NBA Draft that included 1,000 autographs at a price of $8 each with the option for more along with rights to include Antetokounmpo’s name, nickname and photo in its trading cards. Antetokounmpo’s attorneys say it was a one-year deal that was never renewed.
In exhibits attached to the suit, they showed images of Leaf’s 2020 Best of Basketball product that included photos of the Milwaukee Bucks star, sticker autographs and his nickname on the back. The player’s attorneys say the “Greek Freak” nickname can’t be used on cards without his permission.
Lawyers for the reigning NBA Finals MVP say they sent Leaf a cease and desist letter last year, but the Texas-based trading card maker didn’t cooperate with its demands to tell them how many cards it had sold and for how much, among other requests. They’re seeking monetary and injunctive relief.
Leaf, which doesn’t have any licenses with pro sports leagues, often cuts its own deals with prospects for cards and autographs, has yet to respond to the suit. About 500 Leaf Antetokounmpo cards were listed on eBay as of this report.