As a scintillating scorer with the Golden State Warriors and four other NBA teams
, World B. Free was no stranger to knocking down seemingly impossible shots in the face of swarming defenders. Well, it's an apt metaphor for the retired basketball star's latest endeavor -- suing Nike
, a company with more influence and resources than many developing nations.
It's a move that may not please Free's current employers -- the Philadelphia 76ers, who have enlisted their onetime draft pick as an "Ambassador of Basketball," whatever the hell that is. For a team's official ambassador to sue Nike is somewhat akin to the American ambassador to Ireland initiating legal action against Guinness.
Free -- who was born Loyd B. Free, but legally adopted his playground nickname -- claims Nike's "World B. Free Old School basketball sneaker" was created without his consent, and also names the shoe-centric Web site solecollector.com in his suit.
It was on Sole Collector that Free read in March about how he was to have a shoe named after him:
Continuing the trend of honoring some of the best hoops players from
decades past, Nike will soon be dropping this limited edition 'World B. Free
Nike Blazer at the House Of Hoops, paying tribute to the 6′2″ scorer
that played for teams including the 76ers, Warriors and Cavaliers.
Taking notes from Free's colorful and flamboyant personality, the
Blazer's upper features tie-dyed canvas tying back to World's loving
and peaceful outlook on life.
You can see a cached version of the page, since taken down, here
. The pending release of the tie-died shoe below was news to Free, who claims he never authorized the use of his name or likeness.
Free charges that Nike "knowingly, intentionally, and fraudulently" used his likeness; he's asking for compensatory damages, special damages, punitive damages, compensation for lost earning and future earning, his attorney's fees, and any other rewards the court sees fit to give.
Maybe he'd be less upset if his namesake wasn't such an ugly shoe.H\T | CourthouseNews.com