November 14, 2023
LaMelo and Lonzo Ball are at the center of two lawsuits filed by Big Baller Brand co-founder Alan Foster who is seeking $200 million.
Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball is facing a lawsuit alongside parents LaVar and Tina Ball. Charges of fraud, trademark infringement, unfair business practices, and malicious prosecution have been cited by Big Baller Brand co-founder Alan Foster, who is seeking $200 million from the Ball family, Yahoo Finance reports.
In a separate lawsuit, Foster accuses Chicago Bulls player Lonzo Ball of alleged intentional interference with contractual relations and unjust enrichment. The outlet reports that he is asking the court to award him more than $600,000 in legal costs in addition to damages from the oldest Ball brother. Foster claims to have suffered losses due to the patriarch’s refiling of a trademark for the brand in 2019, which traded in the company’s “LLC” for “Inc.”, making him ineligible to recoup his investment in the original brand.
“The malicious intentions are not here difficult to discern,” the lawsuit states, according to Yahoo Finance. “[It is] an attempt to deprive Alan of his rightful 33% share of these extremely valuable trademarks so that the huge profits could be claimed entirely by the Ball family alone.”
Foster has also named the sports brand Puma as a co-defendant in the lawsuit as the company houses LaMelo Ball’s MB1 Enterprises LLC and released a signature shoe with the young star in 2021. The former friend of the Ball family alleges that he helped to design the MB1 shoe and came up with the name that would eventually be used by Puma, The Los Angeles Times reports.
“LaMelo and MB1 Enterprises, with willful, deliberate, and malicious intent, engaged in the promotion, participation, and advertisement of the Infringing Trademarks to drive sales towards PUMA’s footwear and apparel products, with whom LaMelo and MB1 Enterprises had lucrative licensing or endorsement contracts, all for their greedy financial gain,” the lawsuit reads.
“In carrying out these deliberate acts, LaMelo was fully aware of the existence of the LaMelo Trademarks — he helped design them!”
Foster alleges that Ball and Puma used marketing and branding material “confusingly similar” to what he created before the Hornets guard filed for his own MB1 Enterprises trademark in late 2020.
As for his lawsuit against Lonzo, Foster alleges that he has “suffered financial loss, loss of business relations, loss of reputation, and emotional distress” due to comments the Bulls player made about him in public in relationship to an earlier legal battle between he and the Ball family. He also alleges that he was not fairly compensated for his work to ensure the marketability and business success of the former UCLA star’s likeness and brand.
“As a result of his efforts to secure trademarks, increase social media engagement, develop business partnerships, and establish profitable marketing strategies, Plaintiff enhanced the value of BSG and its related entities in amount to be proved at trial, but estimated to exceed $10,000,000 (ten million dollars),” the lawsuit states. “It would be inequitable for Lonzo to retain those benefits without fairly compensating Alan for the value he provided, given that Lonzo then used his status to damage Alan’s interests.”