The league’s reigning MVP is putting a full-court press on pretenders looking to cash in on his trademarked nickname, “Greek Freak,” a Manhattan federal court suit says.
The gentle giant is looking for at least $2 million in damages from a website called Fan Closet operated by California residents Phil Wilett and Stefen Hill, and demanding the alleged illegal merch manufacturing to stop.
Due to his size, speed and ball-handling skills, the chiseled 6-foot-11, 242-pound Antetokounmpo is “widely identified by his nickname” and “has expended substantial time, money and resources successfully developing, promoting and advertising his Greek Freak-branded products,” according to the filing.
The complaint filed May 6 charges the defendants have been making and selling unlicensed phone cases, hoodies, baby onesies and bodysuits — all bearing the Greek Freak label.
On March 27, Antetokounmpo sent a cease and desist letter to the defendants, who have since scrubbed his merch off their Fan Closet website.
However, they failed to cooperate with Antetokounmpo “in good faith” to reach an agreement that “would ensure that infringement has ceased” and the NBA star is “reasonably compensated for the damage he incurred,” the suit says.
The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.
“We provided these people with an opportunity to avoid litigation. They just had to agree to stop selling the pirated merchandise,” Antetokounmpo attorney Taso Pardalis told The Post. “If an athlete or celebrity does not protect the rights to their name, they risk losing those rights.”Taso Pardalis for New York Post
Antetokounmpo currently is in the middle of a four-year, $100 million contract, and is expected to cash in even more when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021.