As Giannis has risen to superstardom in the NBA and throughout the world, proudly representing the nation of Greece and the city of Milwaukee. He signed with Nike and already has his first signature shoe, appropriately named the Greek Freak 1s. Majestic, Nike, Fanatics, ’47 Brand, and more have used variations of the Greek Freak nickname on shirts, hats, hoodies, and more making the phrase incredibly valuable. As a result, Giannis registered the name and trademarked it in 2017 and is applying for a trademark for a variation of the nickname currently.
Now, however, Giannis and his lawyers are suing a freelance artist for violation of the Greek Freak trademark. The artist is Pennsylvania based Jinder Bhogal. Bhogal has used the Greek Freak name on his merchandise that he sells on his website, Facebook, and Instagram pages. According to USA Today, Antetokounmpo’s lawyers sent Bhogal a cease and desist letter in early May. Bhogal never responded to the letter but did pull all his Greek Freak merchandise from his website. Jinder has not taken down his Giannis imagery from his social media, triggering the lawsuit. After some investigating I found that Bhogal is still very much active and is responding to comments criticizing Giannis for his lawsuit.
The popular thing nowadays is to yell at the big bad corporations for protecting their assets, and the same thing goes for celebrities. Especially in regards to independent artists, the court of public opinion sides with the artists because “they’re just trying to be passionate for their craft” or something else. I think Bhogal’s art is fairly impressive, especially given how quick he can sketch, but the law is the law. Giannis has the legal right to protect his assets and the right to profit off his image if he so chooses. When someone has a trademark on something you cannot just ignore that and replicate it for your own gain, which is what Bhogal has done here. Art is not just a passion project, it is a business. Bhogal is selling merchandise to make profit while ignoring the law. We can’t speculate on the ins and outs of the lawsuit since not too much has been made public, but we can deduce that Giannis has a strong argument in this case. The trademark was violated. Giannis is seeking to win the profit from the merchandise, and also is requesting a jury trial.