*The Hollywood Reporter today takes a look at the legal drama surrounding VH1’s “Basketball Wives,” which premieres its Los Angeles spinoff on Aug. 29.
The new cast includes Gloria Govan (fiancée of Laker’s Matt Barnes), Laura Govan (sister to Gloria Govan), Kimsha Artest (ex-wife to Ron Artest), Imani Showalter (ex-fiancée to Stephen Jackson), Malaysia Pargo (wife to Jannero Pargo), Jackie Christie (wife of Doug Christie) and Draya Michele (model and actress).
Already, the original version has generated much legal activity: Chris Bosh and Gilbert Arenas have sued the makers of the show, and others, such as Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal, have threatened litigation.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner writes:
In the past week Arenas filed a motion seeking an injunction against the show. And in response, Arenas was hit with an anti-SLAPP motion contending he’s attempting to impinge constitutionally-protected speech.
Arenas, one of the NBA’s highest paid players as a guard for the Orlando Magic, is upset that former fiance Laura Govan, the mother of four of his children, is set to star in the latest season of Basketball Wives in Los Angeles, scheduled to debut on VH1 on August 29th.
With less than a month to go to the premiere, Arenas is stepping up his efforts to make sure the show never gets on the air. He’s seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent defendant Shed Media, producer of the show, from using his name, from using the term “Basketball Wives” that would suggest affiliation with basketball players such as himself, and from having a show that features Govan.
A hearing on the motion is tentatively scheduled for August 22nd, a week before the show premieres, and if successful, the show might have to be pulled from VH1’s lineup.
But Shed Media isn’t going to allow Arenas to score an uncontested lay-up. The production company has filed a hard-hitting anti-SLAPP motion against Arenas. The motion points out that Arenas’ name is not directly used and that the show hasn’t even hit the air yet. And here’s the key passage:
“In a showing of unparalleled hubris, Plaintiff claims that he is so famous and important that simply mentioning the words ‘basketball wives’ in the same sentence as Govan’s name — even without actually mentioning Plaintiff’s name — impermissibly impinges on his rights. Essentially, Plaintiff claims that because he is famous, his ex-girlfriend is not allowed to talk about her life. Plaintiff is wrong. Govan has a constitutional right to tell her story, even were it to result in an unauthorized biography of Plaintiff.”
A hearing on the anti-SLAPP motion is scheduled for August 29, the same day the show debuts. The outcome of the case will further define how far publicity rights extend for celebrities.