Giannis Sues Luxury Bed Company Over Deficient Product, NIL Use

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is no stranger to litigation. The “Greek Freak” has brought more than 50 civil lawsuits to protect his brand.

This time, the two-time NBA MVP is taking on a company called Maree that claims to make designer luxury beds “as extraordinary as the ones who dream on them” and that touts celebrity clients such as LeBron James, Frank Thomas, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

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Through attorney Eleni Melekou, Antetokounmpo filed a federal lawsuit in Wisconsin on Wednesday, claiming Maree failed to deliver four beds to Athens, Greece, according to “the quality and specifications” in the contract. Antetokounmpo also accuses Maree of unlawfully using his photo on its Instagram account to imply that he endorses the company. The photo, which has since been removed, featured the caption, “Congratulations to our client @giannis_an34 for winning the NBA championship! Dreams come true!!”

Antetokounmpo, who has earned $190 million in his NBA career and many millions more in endorsements, demands a full refund of $95,391.65 for the beds. He also seeks an injunction to stop Maree from using his name, image and likeness to market its products.

Antetokounmpo argues he only received 11 of 43 total items he purchased as part of the four beds, and what he received was deficient and unusable.

For example, one bed’s headboard “lacked the necessary fittings to connect properly with the rest of the bed frame.” Another bed showed torn fabric and featured the wrong screws, making the bed slats not fit properly. Antetokounmpo and his partner, Mariah Riddlesprigger, say they called the company’s CEO and founder, Erica Gleaton (who is also a named defendant), at least 20 times to no avail. As Antetokounmpo tells it, Gleaton became “irresponsive.”

The complaint includes seven claims, including for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, invasion of privacy, false endorsement and breach of implied warranty. Antetokounmpo argues he didn’t get what he paid for. Maree, which calls itself the “Rolls Royce of Beds,” also allegedly made false representations, including by making grandiose promises on its website that “induced” Antetokounmpo to place an order.

Antetokounmpo further maintains Maree was using his photo without his permission to suggest he is connected to the company’s products. This apparent association could “cause confusion, mistake and deception” and lead consumers to wrongly believe Antetokounmpo endorses the company. A false endorsement could also “dilute the distinctiveness” of Antetokounmpo’s brand since other companies might inaccurately believe he endorses Maree.

Maree will answer the complaint and rebut Antetokounmpo’s claims. The company might argue it complied with the letter of the contract and that Antetokounmpo’s and Riddlesprigger’s expectations exceeded what the contract actually provided. Maree might also contend that since Antetokounmpo is a public figure, it has a right to post a photo of him in the context of a newsworthy event—the Bucks winning the NBA title in 2021—and that he was a client.

Judge J.P. Stadtmueller will preside over the case.

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