Jul 9
The basketball superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is suing an artist for using his nickname to sell T-shirts.
 Giannis Antetokounmpo. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images.

Giannis Antetokounmpo. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images.

The National Basketball Association’s reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is known for, among other things, his formidable shot-blocking. But this off-season he’s taken to a different type of court to attempt a block—on Monday, the Greek basketball superstar filed a lawsuit against the artist Jinder Bhogal for using his trademarked nickname, “Greek Freak,” to sell clothes featuring images of Antetokounmpo.

The suit, filed in New York’s southern district, accuses Bhogal of using the phrase “Greek Freak” to promote a line of clothes emblazoned with his original portrait of Antetokounmpo. The artwork depicts the player sporting a toga, with antlers protruding from his head (a reference to his NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks) and the Acropolis looming in the background.

According to the lawsuit, representatives for Antetokounmpo sent Bhogal a cease-and-desist letter in early May, and while the artist never responded, he subsequently removed the “Greek Freak” works from his online store. However, posts promoting the “Greek Freak” wares are still visible on Bhogal’s social media pages for his clothing line.

The lawsuit accuses Bhogal of capitalizing on Antetokounmpo’s famous, trademarked nickname, and of selling wares “of a particular aesthetic not aligned” with the player’s own branding and “of a substantially lower quality than the products offered” by Antetokounmpo. The basketball star is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction to block Bhogal from further use of the “Greek Freak” phrase.