NBA sued over marketing links with failed crypto lender Voyager Digital

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit over its marketing deals with now-collapsed crypto lender Voyager Digital, which the platform’s users claim led to losses of over $4.2 billion.

The NBA was “grossly negligent” when it approved Voyager’s promotional deal with the Dallas Mavericks, claimed the over 100-page Feb. 6 suit filed in a Miami District Court. The filing details the marketing from the two firms and alleges the NBA was meant to “serve as the ‘gatekeeper.’”

“This lawsuit simply seeks to hold the NBA liable,” the class group claims. “The NBA’s widespread promotion of Voyager’s unregistered securities renders it liable for any and all resulting damages.”

Plaintiffs also allege the NBA “deliberately decided to embrace the risks” of working with crypto exchanges such as Voyager, Coinbase and FTX and accepted “billions in promotional compensation” as it faced “empty arenas and the loss of billions in television revenues” due to COVID-19.

Voyager’s law firm McCarter & English were also named in the suit. It alleges the firm leveraged its credibility to issue “a bogus ‘Legal Opinion’” that Voyager’s token wasn’t an unregistered security and “assuage the concerns of potential investors and partners” that Voyager’s offerings were “entirely above board.”

In 2022, the same class group sued Dallas Mavericks’ former owner Mark Cuban alleging he promoted Voyager and misrepresented how safe it was, which Cuban denies. That lawsuit’s “extensive discovery” made it “now apparent” that the class group had to widen its litigation to the NBA and McCarter & English.

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Voyager paused withdrawals in early July 2022 and filed for bankruptcy the same month due to exposure to the defunct crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC).

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against celebrities, sporting stars and sporting organizations that partnered with crypto firms after FTX collapsed in late 2022.

Mercedes’ F1 Team, Major League Baseball (MLB), football star Tom Brady, NBA star Steph Curry, basketball commentator Shaquille O’Neal, comedian Larry David and many others found themselves on the receiving end of lawsuits for partnering with FTX.

The NBA and McCarter & English did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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