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Giannis Antetokounmpo Files Lawsuit To Stop ‘Infringing’ T-Shirts

Federal Suit Aims To Stop Use Of 'Greek Freak' In Unlicensed Merchandise

Giannis Antetokounmpo with his mother Veronica Antetokounmpo
NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks, winner of the most valuable player award, left, and mother Veronica Antetokounmpo pose in the press room at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 24, 2019, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has sued a Philadelphia man for selling T-shirts with his trademarked nickname on them.

In the suit filed in federal court in New York on Monday, Antetokounmpo alleged that artist Jinder Bhogal sold “Greek Freak” merchandise in violation of his trademark on the phrase, even after receiving a cease and desist letter.

He’s seeking up to $2 million in damages.

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Matt Powell, senior industry advisor, sports for the NPD Group, said merchandise can often be as big a part of a top player’s income as their team salary.

“Especially in the NBA, I think the league has really become a personality league now. We’re seeing athletes moving from team to team,” he said. “It’s really critical that the athlete does not let their name, their logo, their nickname get co-opted by somebody else.”

The NBA announced in April that Antetokoumpo was the No. 3 player in the league in terms of jersey sales, following LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. He won the league’s Most Valuable Player award for averaging 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds in the 2018-19 season, in which the Bucks had the best record in the regular season and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals.

Antetokoumpo was in Los Angeles Wednesday night for the ESPY Awards, where he was named Best Male Athlete and Best NBA Player.

“This is not going to be like the MVP speech,” he said, laughing, during his acceptance speech. “I’m not going to cry today.”