NEW YORK — Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2019 National Basketball Association most valuable player, sued a Pennsylvania man on Monday for allegedly selling "Greek Freak" T-shirts and other clothing without permission.
Antetokounmpo, who was named the Best NBA Player and Best Male Athlete at the annual ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 10, accused Jinder Bhogal, who sells clothing inspired by NBA players on his website, of trying to piggyback off his "Greek Freak" trademark, which was registered last year, and profit from the Bucks star's success.
According to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Bhogal acted in bad faith "with the purpose of confusing and misleading consumers into believing that they are purchasing products associated with or endorsed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the most successful and popular NBA players."
Antetokounmpo also said Bhogal did not respond to his May 3 "cease-and-desist" letter to stop selling infringing products, including hoodies.
A call to a number listed for Bhogal in Reading, Pennsylvania seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Antetokounmpo is seeking at least $2 million of damages, including unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and an injunction against further infringements.
The lawsuit included an illustration in which Bhogal allegedly put Antetokounmpo's face on a body with antlers, and offered Bucks fans 10% off for deciding to "get your Greek Freak tee for the next round of the playoffs!"
Bhogal's website also offers clothing featuring depictions of former NBA MVPs Stephen Curry and James Harden.
Antetokounmpo, 24, was born in Greece to Nigerian immigrants and raised there.
He has played for the Bucks since 2013, and averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in the 2018-19 season.
Bucks sign hill
The Bucks officially re-signed point guard George Hill, who averaged 11.5 points per game during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
The Bucks waived the 33-year-old Hill last month to avoid his contract guaranteeing but intended to try to bring him back on a more team-friendly deal than the one year and $18 million he had left. His new contract will be for three years, $29 million, according to a recent report in The Athletic.
Hill averaged 6.8 points and 2.1 assists in 47 games with the Bucks last season after arriving via trade from Cleveland. Milwaukee released recently acquired forward Jon Leuer to make room under the salary cap and the Bucks will pay the $9.5 million Leuer is owed over the next three seasons.
Another brother combo
The Bucks signed NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's older brother, Thanasis, to a two-year contract, The Athletic reported Sunday.
The 26-year-old forward was a second-round pick by New York in 2014 and appeared in two games with the Knicks in January 2016.
The Athens native won his second straight Greek League championship this season with Panathinaikos.
He also played in 141 games in the NBA G League with the Delaware 87ers (2013-14) and Westchester Knicks (2014-16), averaging 12.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
The Bucks' 2019-20 roster now features two sets of siblings, with the Antekounmpo brothers and twins Robin and Brook Lopez.