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Law

Mattress Company Holds Firm Amid Giannis Antetokounmpo Lawsuit

  • Antetokounmpo sued Maree and its CEO in federal court seeking $92,003 refund and other damages.
  • Maree disputes claims, including that it used Antetokounmpo’s likeness without permission.
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo made a federal case out of months-long dispute with a mattress manufacturer. 

The Milwaukee Bucks forward laid out a series of claims in a lawsuit against Maree and company founder/CEO founder and CEO Erica Gleaton, including the use of a photo to promote the mattress brand without Antetokounmpo’s permission. Maree told Front Office Sports in a statement that it had Antetokounmpo’s consent to use his likeness, and disputed other allegations in the lawsuit. 

Antetokounmpo seeks a full refund that totals $92,003 — an amount that includes $20,000 in shipping fees to get the beds delivered to his native Greece — and an injunction to prevent Maree from using his likeness in promotional materials, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Tuesday. 

“Despite [Antetokounmpo] multiple efforts to contact the defendants, defendants have failed to cooperate with [Antetokounmpo] and comply with their contractual obligations by fixing or substituting the defects of their products or issuing a refund to [Antetokounmpo],” Antetokounmpo’s attorney, Eleni Melekou, wrote in the complaint obtained by FOS. “Moreover, defendants have refused to cease using the Antetokounmpo rights for advertisement and commercial purposes despite having received a cease-and-desist letter from [Antetokounmpo].”

Attorney Rob Freund was the first to highlight the lawsuit on X (formerly Twitter). 

According to the lawsuit, Maree “unilaterally changed the shipping terms” to deliver the beds to Athens, and Maree underestimated the total weight of the items by about 800 pounds. Antetokounmpo alleged he only received 11 of the 43 items, and some of the items he did receive arrived damaged. 

“We are saddened that Mr. Antetokounmpo’s management team has decided to move forward with a lawsuit to resolve the issue in court rather than amicably with our company,” Maree said in the statement to FOS. “We have had a long-standing relationship with Mr. Antetokounmpo over many years and the recent miscommunications appear to reflect the misinformed management team rather than the actual facts.

“At the core of this situation the product was shipped completely intact with all facts therefore the lawsuit is a complete fabrication. It also does not accurately represent that the management team for Mr. Antetokounmpo assumes that shipping internationally would be at free expense.”

As far as the use of Antetokounmpo’s likeness, Maree said it has “the express permission to use his name and image in marketing per the terms of our signed contract, for which he received a discount on the services and products he purchased.”

A picture of Antetokounmpo was used in Maree’s Instagram account in July 2021. The since-deleted post read, “Congratulations to our client @giannis_an34 for winning the NBA championship!” 

The Instagram post was included in a demand letter sent to Maree in August. According to the Maree website, it counts LeBron James, Serena and Venus Williams, Hulk Hogan and Kevin Harvick as clients. 

Maree added that Antetokounmpo’s representatives “have consistently refused to pay the international vendor despite multiple attempts from the third-party shipping company.”

“We hope that this can get quickly and fully resolved and in the meantime we’ll continue to reach for a resolution with Mr. Antetokounmpo and his management team.”

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