Former professional basketball player George Gervin is going head-to-head with Ralph Lauren.
Sports Business Journal reports Gervin has filed a lawsuit against the fashion company due to a shoe being sold without his knowledge called the “Gervin Mid.”
The shoe was sold starting in 2022 and is similar to a shoe previously worn by Gervin in the 1970s. In addition, the company allegedly failed to offer Gervin compensation and continued to sell various versions of the shoe even when Gervin’s attorney called for a cease and desist.
“I have worked hard throughout my career to build my name and reputation, and I will not allow any company to exploit it without my permission,” Gervin said in a statement, according to the Sports Business Journal. “I am taking legal action to protect my rights and ensure that consumers are not misled.”
The lawsuit also states when Ralph Lauren was notified, they responded that the retro-style shoe was “coincidentally” named Gervin by a French designer because it “sounded good.” The company has since rebranded the product as the “Ralph Lauren Mid.” However, it is believed that the shoe is already attached to Gervin’s likeness.
“Due to the pervasive and permanent nature of the internet, the digital footprint damage was already done and the Ralph Lauren Mid is forever algorithmically linked to Gervin’s name,” the complaint said, according to Sports Business Journal.
“We must protect those whose privacy and identity rights become exploited in today’s increasingly data, digital, online, and technology-driven world,” Michael Clohisy, attorney for Gervin said, according to the Sports Business Journal. “George Gervin is suing Ralph Lauren to regain and control the commercial use of his name and likeness, as well as protect the next generation of athletes.”