Home » NBA Legend George Gervin Sues Ralph Lauren Over Sneaker Name & Design

NBA Legend George Gervin Sues Ralph Lauren Over Sneaker Name & Design

by Black America Web

NBA legend George Gervin has beef with Ralph Lauren. He’s suing the prolific designer for $2M for infringing his right to privacy, creating a false endorsement, and infringing his trademarks.

At issue is Lauren’s high-top sneaker line, the Gervin Mid. In 1973, when Gervin starred for the ABA’s Virginia Squires, he was one of the first athletes to wear a Nike signature shoe called the Blazer.

In 2022, Ralph Lauren introduced the Gervin Mid as part of their 1970s-era retro line. The company’s lawyers said a French designer coincidentally called the shoe the Gervin because he liked the way it sounded. (Gervin is not a French name, it comes from Northern Ireland.) Nevertheless, Lauren changed the shoe’s name to the Ralph Lauren Mid, but shoes are still being sold under the original name.

The ’77 Blazer Vintage, inspired by Gervin’s original shoe, is still a Nike sneaker.

Gervin filed the complaint in the Southern District of New York earlier this week, alleging that the company neither asked for permission nor compensated him for his name and likeness.

“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, an NBA Hall of Fame player who was a star in the ’70s and ’80s for the San Antonio Spurs, said in a statement. “I am taking legal action to protect my rights and ensure that consumers are not misled.”

In the digital landscape name and likeness rights are becoming increasingly lucrative. Athletes as young as high school age are now signing six-figure deals given their extensive social media presence. A 12-time NBA All-Star who played 14 seasons in the NBA and the ABA and was named to the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team, Gervin, 70, still has cachet given his iconic career and nickname.

“NIL for college and amateur sports has become a billion-dollar market…

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