The lawsuit filed yesterday in California District Court points out that the VH1 program doesn’t actually show wives of basketball players, but rather women who are dating, or have dated, or have been married to NBA players.
Bosh is claiming that co-defendants Allison Mathis and Shed Media are commercially exploiting his likeness and trademark, and the complaint offers a rationale on why Mathis’ appearance doesn’t constitute protected First Amendment expression against Bosh’s purported intellectual property rights:
“The use of Plaintiff’s name by Defendants is primarily commercial and not communicative,” says the lawsuit. “Further, the show, ‘Basketball Wives,’ is not transformative, but rather the use, depiction, or imitation of celebrity NBA basketball players, including Plaintiff, is the very sum and substance of the show.”
Bosh claims his consent was required for use of his mark — his name — and that the reality show is likely to confuse the public into thinking he authorized or sponsored “Basketball Wives.” Bosh also claims that the show has wrongfully converted his “life rights” and divulged facts about him that have been harmful and “destroyed” the commercial value of his “life rights.” He’s also suing the defendants for intruding upon his private home life.
Bosh, who signed a lucrative contract as a free agent last off-season and is currently competing in the second round of the NBA playoffs, wants an injunction, disgorgement of profits, and further damages.
Bosh isn’t the first NBA player to call a foul on VH1′s “Basketball Wives.” Last year, Shaquille O’Neal– who ironically is facing off against Bosh in the 2nd round of the playoffs — threatened his own ex-wife for participating on the show.