Shaq Addresses FTX Lawsuit Revealing He Was Only a Celebrity in an Ad


Many notable names have reportedly been mentioned as defendants in a lawsuit against FTX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

Fifty-year-old businessman and Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has reportedly been named a defendant in a class-action lawsuit against now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX last month.

According to CNBC Make It, O’Neal promoted the company in a June commercial, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that the FTX endorsement was fraudulent, accusing founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried of misusing customer funds for his benefit and his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research.

O’Neal said that when it comes to FTX, he was only a celebrity being used for an ad.

“A lot of people think I’m involved, but I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,” O’Neal said.

In the June commercial for FTX, the basketball legend can be heard saying, “I’m excited to be partnering with FTX to help make crypto accessible to everyone.” He continued with, “I’m all in. Are you?”

The suit accused FTX of using celebrities to target “unsophisticated investors from across the country,” dragging in other popular names alongside O’Neal, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, and comedian Larry David.

The claim stated that FTX’s spokespeople “either controlled, promoted, assisted in [or] actively participated” in a plot to “aggressively market” the company.

“People know I’m very, very honest,” O’Neal said.

“I have nothing to hide. If I was heavily involved, I would be at the forefront saying, ‘Hey.’ But I was just a paid spokesperson.”

O’Neal told the outlet that his friendship with NBA player Stephen Curry is a big reason he consented to the deal to appear in the advertisement.

Last year, O’Neal told Front Office Sports that he steers clear of deals that seem too good to be true, sharing his perspective on cryptocurrency.

“I always get these companies that say, ‘Hey, we’ll give you $900,000 in crypto to send out a tweet.’ So I have to say, ‘OK, if you’re going to give me a million dollars worth of crypto, then why do you need me?’” O’Neal said.

“A couple of my friends got caught up in a little scam like that one time.”

According to CNBC, the Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried on several counts of conspiracy and fraud, and the accusations will likely result in extradition and a U.S. trial. The FTX founder reportedly faces at least eight charges from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

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