Michael Jordan suing Chinese company

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan listens to a question from the media during an NBA news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. The Bobcats traded away their best two players last year, raising questions about where they're headed in year four of the Michael Jordan era.
AP Photo/Chuck Burton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former NBA star and current Bobcats owner Michael Jordan filed suit in a Chinese court against Qiaodan Sports Company Limited, a sportswear and footwear manufacturer, for unauthorized use of his name.

In a statement released through his spokeswoman, Jordan says he's worked hard to establish his name and calls the issue "deeply disappointing to see a company build a business off my Chinese name without my permission, use the number 23 and even attempt to use the names of my children."

Jordan says he's "This complaint is not about money, it's about principle and protecting my name."

The Chinese company has registered and uses the name "Qiaodan" — the moniker Jordan has been known by in China since he gained widespread popularity in the mid-1980s.

Unhappy birthday for Michael Jordan?

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that a national grocery store chain's reference to him in an ad-like magazine layout was constitutionally protected free speech - a decision that thwarted the former Chicago Bulls player's bid for control of his billion-dollar image.

In a finding that surprised some legal observers, the court in Chicago concluded Jewel-Osco wasn't endeavoring to sell anything with the page featuring basketball shoes emblazoned with "23," Jordan's Bulls jersey number.