A Maryland-based youth organization claims that LeBron James stole its "I Am More Than An Athlete" slogan and has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Lakers star and his Uninterrupted media company.
Game Plan, which says it has been using the slogan since 2016 and had it trademarked two years later, is claiming copyright violation and is suing James and his company for $33 million, TMZ reports. The nonprofit believes LeBron saw members of the organization wearing shirts with the slogan on them during a 2017 game, when James' Cleveland Cavaliers played the Washington Wizards in the nation's capital.
"The attendance at the game gave Game Plan tremendous exposure, as it was able to gain attention from John Wall in front of his peers including the (arguably) most famous athlete in the world, as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, at the time, LeBron James," Game Plan stated in their lawsuit, according to the outlet.
The lawsuit also implicates ESPN, Nike, and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc, the creators of the NBA 2K video game.
James' media company has roundly dismissed the allegations. "The complaint filed by Game Plan today is meritless and contains numerous factual inaccuracies," the company said in a statement to TMZ. "Uninterrupted owns prior rights in and to the More Than An Athlete trademark."
James began using the phrase in 2018 after he was told to "shut up and dribble" by Fox News host Laura Ingraham.