NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal found himself in the spotlight after being served legal papers in connection to the FTX bankruptcy and his NFT project, Astrals. For months, process servers struggled to reach O’Neal, even tossing legal documents at his SUV at one point. However, their effort was successful during an NBA playoff game at the Miami sports stadium, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The basketball icon received legal papers for two separate lawsuits; one regarding the class action filed against him and other celebrities such as Tom Brady over the collapse of FTX. The second lawsuit alleges that he founded and promoted a Solana-based nonfungible token project called Astrals, claimed to be “unregistered securities.”
It appears that O’Neal had been dodging process servers for months, with efforts to reach him at his homes, studio, and even at one point outside the TNT Studios in Atlanta, where he serves as a host. As Adam Moskowitz, a lawyer representing the FTX investors, stated, “It seems absurd to have to go to such great lengths to serve Mr. O’Neal.”
The 54-page complaint against O’Neal for his ownership of Astrals highlights six total claims, accusing the former NBA legend of violating laws such as Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The complaint also argues that Astrals NFTs should be considered unregistered securities under the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Howey Test.
The Astrals NFT project, launched in 2022, with O’Neal’s music manager Brian Bayati as CEO and his son Myles O’Neal as the head of investor relations, is facing criticism. As stated in the complaint, “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.”
However, the floor price of the Astrals collection experienced a significant drop, falling from an all-time high of 16 SOL in April 2022 to its current price of 1.22 SOL.
In conclusion, these lawsuits against Shaquille O’Neal raise critical questions about the responsibility of celebrities in the world of cryptocurrencies and NFTs. While many see it as an exciting new investment opportunity, others criticize the potential for abuse and manipulation. As these legal proceedings continue, the spotlight will remain on celebrities like O’Neal and the impact they have on the market.