Chicago Bulls’ star now facing lawsuit exceeding $200 million

Charlotte Hornets’ rising star LaMelo Ball, along with his parents LaVar and Tina Ball, are facing legal action from Alan Foster, a co-founder of Big Baller Brand, in a lawsuit exceeding $200 million. Foster alleges trademark infringement, fraud, and unfair business practices against them.

In a separate case, Foster is suing Lonzo Ball, LaMelo’s brother and a guard for the Chicago Bulls, citing malicious prosecution, intentional interference with contractual relations, and unjust enrichment. This lawsuit seeks over $600,000 in legal costs plus potential additional damages.

Although the lawsuits are legally unrelated, they underscore the breakdown of the once-close relationship between Foster and the Ball family, hailing from Chino Hills. Foster filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles, naming LaVar, Tina, and LaMelo Ball among the defendants. The lawsuit suggests a deliberate effort by the defendants to block Alan from having any stake in the Ball Family companies and their earnings.


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Puma, an apparel company with a shoe deal featuring LaMelo Ball, is also implicated, alongside LaMelo’s MB1 Enterprises LLC and LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand Inc. The lawsuit comprises 12 claims against some or all of the defendants, stating Foster may have suffered damages exceeding $200 million due to the use of trademarks owned by him in merchandise by Puma and Big Baller Brand.

Puma declined to comment on the lawsuit, and attempts to contact other defendants were unsuccessful.

The lawsuit contends that Foster played a significant role in establishing several of the Ball family’s enterprises over a decade ago and retains a 33% interest in these ventures, including trademarks associated with LaMelo Ball, Big Baller Brand, and Lonzo Ball. Allegedly, these trademarks were transferred to the newer company, Big Baller Brand Inc., without Foster’s consent.

The lawsuit accuses the Ball family of attempting to deprive Foster of his rightful share of these valuable trademarks to claim profits exclusively for themselves, alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent trademark registration, and unfair business practices.

Furthermore, Foster claims to have assisted LaMelo Ball in developing his brand, including creating the MB1 name and design, and registering related trademarks for Big Baller Brand LLC. He asserts that LaMelo started MB1 Enterprises and filed trademarks that closely resemble the earlier branding Foster helped establish.

The lawsuit also raises confusion among consumers regarding the name of LaMelo’s signature Puma shoe, the MB.01, which is reminiscent of the earlier MB1 shoe. Foster’s court filing includes evidence from various websites and articles referring to Puma’s shoes as “MB1,” contributing to the alleged confusion in the marketplace.

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