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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NBA Superstar Aims To Block VH1's 'Basketball Wives'

Legal rumbling ahead of reality show's season premiere on August 29 

VH1's reality series Basketball Wives isn't too popular among NBA players. Already, Chris Bosh and Gilbert Arenas have sued the makers of the show, and others, such as Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal, have threatened litigation.
In the past week Arenas filed a motion seeking an injunction against the show. And in response, Arenas was hit with an anti-SLAPP motion contending he's attempting to impinge constitutionally-protected speech.
Arenas, one of the NBA's highest paid players as a guard for the Orlando Magic, is upset that former fiance Laura Govan, the mother of four of his children, is set to star in the latest season of Basketball Wives in Los Angeles, scheduled to debut on VH1 on August 29th.
With less than a month to go to the premiere, Arenas is stepping up his efforts to make sure the show never gets on the air. He's seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent defendant Shed Media, producer of the show, from using his name, from using the term "Basketball Wives" that would suggest affiliation with basketball players such as himself, and from having a show that features Govan.
A hearing on the motion is tentatively scheduled for August 22nd, a week before the show premieres, and if successful, the show might have to be pulled from VH1's lineup.
But Shed Media isn't going to allow Arenas to score an uncontested lay-up. The production company has filed a hard-hitting anti-SLAPP motion against Arenas.  The motion points out that Arenas' name is not directly used and that the show hasn't even hit the air yet. And here's the key passage:
"In a showing of unparalleled hubris, Plaintiff claims that he is so famous and important that simply mentioning the words 'basketball wives' in the same sentence as Govan's name -- even without actually mentioning Plaintiff's name -- impermissibly impinges on his rights. Essentially, Plaintiff claims that because he is famous, his ex-girlfriend is not allowed to talk about her life. Plaintiff is wrong. Govan has a constitutional right to tell her story, even were it to result in an unauthorized biography of Plaintiff."
A hearing on the anti-SLAPP motion is scheduled for August 29, the same day the show debuts. The outcome of the case will further define how far publicity rights extend for celebrities.

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