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Shaquille O'Neal served FTX complaint during broadcast of NBA playoff game

Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen among celebrities sued over FTX crypto collapse
Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen among celebrities sued over FTX crypto collapse 02:01

After months of evasion, basketball star Shaquille O'Neal has been served in a case involving collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The legal documents, served Tuesday, were delivered to the former athlete and current "Inside the NBA" analyst during the broadcast of a Miami Heat-Boston Celtics playoff game in Miami, plaintiffs' attorney Adam Moskowitz said. 

The complaint is part of a class-action lawsuit alleging O'Neal and other celebrities defrauded FTX investors by appearing in advertisements for the crypto-trading platform. O'Neal "hid" from process servers for months before being tracked down at the Kaseya Center, formerly called the FTX Arena, Moskowitz told CBS MoneyWatch. 

A process server filmed the event to make sure there wouldn't be "any problem" moving the case forward, Moskowitz said. Shaq ordered the process server to be ejected from the arena after the service, he added. 

"They gave video of most of the service —not all, so we would be shocked if they raise any problems," Moskowitz said. "We also now served a copy on his lawyer Bobby Martinez, so there can be no doubt he is served!"

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Four
Shaquille O'Neal looks on during the third quarter in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat at Kaseya Center on May 23, 2023 in Miami, Florida.  Megan Briggs / Getty Images

Process servers thought they had successfully served the Hall of Famer in April. However, O'Neal earlier this month filed a request to dismiss the lawsuit, alleging that he had never actually received the legal papers.

"This purported 'service' is inadequate," O'Neal's attorneys said in a court filing. "It should be quashed, and the claims against Mr. O'Neal dismissed."

According to federal law, a complaint must be served in person or through mail. If the individual being served does not receive the papers, the case can be delayed or dismissed. 

In March, Forbes reported that Moskowitz's firm had enlisted four different companies to hand O'Neal the complaint after months of failed attempts to serve the former athlete. 

During the Tuesday night game, O'Neal was also served a second complaint alleging he and his son promoted an NFT project called ASTRALS before abandoning it, according to Moskowitz. 

O'Neal's lawyer, Roberto Martinez, did not immediately reply to CBS MoneyWatch's request for comment. 

"The irony here is that Shaq claimed no experience in crypto but this new class case for the NFT Astrals proves the opposition — he, his son and his business partner, all planned to make many millions odd dollars based solely on his involvement," Moskowitz said.

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