A law firm trying to serve Shaquille O'Neal with papers in a lawsuit involving FTX will seek alternative methods soon, saying its cat-and-mouse game with one of the NBA’s biggest personalities has gone on for too long.
O'Neal was named a defendant alongside several other celebrities in a class-action lawsuit filed last November in a Florida federal district court. It alleges that O'Neal and others such as Tom Brady and Larry David “actively participated” in the “offer and sale of unregistered securities” by promoting FTX.
After multiple attempts were made to serve O'Neal with papers in person over the past few months, Adam Moskowitz—one of the lawyers representing FTX investor Edwin Garrison in the lawsuit—told Decrypt his firm will seek to do substituted service tomorrow.
“We still have not served Shaquille O'Neal, so we're gonna file papers with the court tomorrow asking to do substituted service,” he said. “Basically, the largest man is hiding from our lawsuit.”
The method of delivering court papers is reserved for circumstances where defendants can’t be reached personally or practically, allowing a complaint to be sent to a defendant’s personal address instead. Alternatively, court papers can be served via NFT, based on other Florida court proceedings.
Moskowitz said that service companies have tried to find O’Neal at various locations over the course of their efforts to deliver the lawsuit’s complaint, including his NBA studio, a home, and places he’s done promotions.
When O’Neal shared that he was recovering from hip replacement surgery on social media three days ago, an attempt to serve O’Neal at his Orlando residence was stifled after a process server was told that O’Neal had “already fled to the Bahamas” by security personnel at the home’s front gate, Moskowitz claimed.
Due to O’Neal’s alleged evasiveness so far, the lawsuit has been unable to proceed. Forbes reported earlier this month that O’Neal was the remaining defendant to be served, which was described in an email sent by Moskowitz and lawyer David Boies as an attempt “to draw out these proceedings” or “avoid answering for these allegations.”
Moskowitz told Decrypt he believes O’Neal is the lawsuit’s worst offender for saying he was “all in” on FTX and then subsequently telling CNBC reporters he doesn’t understand crypto and will probably stay away from it following the exchange’s collapse.
“I’m just an everyday guy, who puts on size 23 shoes and checks his FTX account,” O’Neal said in an FTX commercial. “I’m all in, are you?”
We couldn't keep it secret any longer! We're partnering with...the one...the only...@SHAQ! (a.k.a. Shaqtoshi) pic.twitter.com/V37UQ5wsXI
— FTX (@FTX_Official) June 1, 2022
Aside from Sam-Bankman Fried, the other defendants listed in the lawsuit include Giselle Bündchen and entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary—not to mention Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry. All the defendants named in the suit are expected to respond by April 14.
O’Neal’s involvement in the cryptocurrency space isn’t limited to his promotion of FTX. His Twitter profile picture was once a Creature World NFT. He also used “Shaq.eth” and “Shaq.sol”—monikers that point to his Ethereum and Solana wallet addresses, respectively—as his account’s handle for a period of time.
The basketball player launched his first NFT collection in October 2021 titled the “Shaquille O’Neal: The Eras of Dominance Collection,” created in partnership with Ethernity Chain, a digital art marketplace.
He’s also a founder of Astrals, a Solana-based NFT project that launched in March of last year, according to the project’s website. Despite telling reporters he doesn’t understand crypto, O’Neal claimed on Twitter that he “personally found our artist and I hand picked our team” for Astrals.
I get it, you love this space and you don’t want to see it destroyed by cash grabbing individuals with high influence. But before you pass judgement just know I personally found our artist and I hand picked our team. I’m learning the same way everyone else is.
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) March 8, 2022