Wondering what Gilbert Arenas thinks about his ex-fiancee starring on “Basketball Wives”?
Well, now we know: The former Wizards star filed a federal suit in Los Angeles Thursday to try to stop Laura Govan from trading on his fame with a role in the latest edition of the dishy VH1 reality series.
The suit accuses Govan and production company Shed Media US of trademark infringement, false advertising and misappropriation of the star’s likeness, among other claims.
“The presence of the defendant Govan and the title of the show is an obvious reference” to the NBA star, of the Orlando Magic, his lawyers wrote. As marketed, the show is “likely to mislead or confuse consumers that defendant Govan is either married to Plaintiff and/or has special insight into Plaintiff’s current life,” the suit states.
Neither Govan’s rep nor Shed Media got back to us for comment by deadline.
Amid a scorched-earth custody and support battle with Arenas, Govan just weeks ago gave birth to their fourth child. VH1 announced Monday that she would join the cast of “Basketball Wives: L.A.” Set to air in August, it’s a spinoff of a series created last year by Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife, Shaunie. Like her and Govan, many of the castmembers are girlfriends or exes rather than current NBA wives per se.
Arenas’s suit is strikingly similar to one filed in May by Miami Heat star Chris Bosh, seeking to block his ex, Allison Mathis, from appearing on the show. Though producers later said she had never been cast, Mathis is now suing Bosh, claiming he spoiled her shot at stardom. Arenas has taken on the same legal team as Bosh.
This newest suit could be a higher-stakes matter, though, with filming already underway and Govan a part of it. She told us earlier this week she wasn’t concerned about her ex trying to stop her. “Whatever happens happens,” she said.
Chris Ott, a trademark specialist with the D.C. law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, told us that Arenas’s trademark claim may be a bit of a stretch, since his name is not used in the marketing. And it would be hard for lawyers to argue that the show, with its density of exes, purports to be endorsed by Arenas or any of the off-stage men. But California courts tend to lean strongly towards a plaintiff’s rights of likeness and publicity, he said. And “realistically,” he said, “I don’t think they’re looking to take it to trial.”