NBA Legend George Gervin Sues Ralph Lauren for Using His ‘Likeness’ with Sneaker

NBA legend, George Gervin, told Ralph Lauren they are on thin ice for using things that don’t belong to them.

Sports Business Journal reported the fashion brand is being sued by Gervin for allegedly using his likeness without permission.

Filed in the Southern District of New York, the lawsuit stated the brand profited off his name with a sneaker named “Gervin Mid.” It also claimed the Ralph Lauren product has “violated Gervin’s right of publicity and the Lanham Act, federal legislation that bars false advertisement and trademark infringement.”

The 70-year-old, known as “The Iceman,” said he isn’t going to let any brand, big or small, tarnish his name. “I have worked hard throughout my career to build my name and reputation, and I will not allow any company to exploit it without my permission,” Gervin said, according to SBJ.

“I am taking legal action to protect my rights and ensure that consumers are not misled.”

This legal battle stems back to 2022, when a shoe, striking a close resemblance to the 1970s-era Blazers worn by Gervin, appeared on the brand’s website.

The suit claimed that Ralph Lauren released the sneaker without Gervin’s consent or an offer for compensation. According to another source, Lauren changed the shoe’s name to the “Ralph Lauren Mid,” but shoes were still being sold under the original name, despite cease and desist letters sent by Gervin’s attorney.

Spokespersons from Lauren claim the shoe name was simply a coincidence, claiming it was named by a French designer because it “sounded good.”

Gervin’s attorney, Michael Clohisy, said the lawsuit is about taking back control of the basketball player’s name. “George Gervin is suing Ralph Lauren to regain and control the commercial use of his name and likeness, as well as protect the next generation of athletes.” The San Antonio legend launched “I Own Me,” a startup company, for these reasons alone.

The company’s website states “IOWNME has created a new paradigm for individuals to manage digital assets, privacy, identity, and brand underpinned by digital identity and data rights ownership.”