Shaq has already been served. After three months of pursuing Shaquille O’Neal, lawyers for a class action lawsuit served the basketball star and former FTX promoter outside his Atlanta home on Sunday. O’Neal is one of more than a dozen celebrities and sports teams being sued for promoting FTX, the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange. He was once so supportive of FTX that the firm dubbed him “Shaqtoshi,” a reference to Satoshi Nakamoto, the alleged author of the Bitcoin white paper.
Lawyers have been looking for him for three months. O’Neal has remained hidden in plain sight. He appears on TV on a daily basis, has his own podcast, and tours as “DJ Diesel.” Despite this, process servers struggled to serve O’Neal with formal notice that he is the subject of a lawsuit.
On Sunday afternoon, lawyers served O’Neal at his home, and the exchange was recorded on film. The action was filed by Edwin Garrison, an FTX client from Oklahoma, and is being handled by attorneys Adam Moskowitz and David Boies. The Block was the first to hear the news. “We just served Shaquille O’Neal personally outside his house with a copy of our complaint at 4pm,” Moskowitz wrote in an email. “We took Judge Moore’s instructions very seriously and are glad to finally put an end to this silly sideshow.”
Lawyers were so frantic to locate O’Neal before a Monday deadline that they petitioned a judge to allow them to serve him via Twitter, Instagram, and email. Moskowitz’s firm resorted to tweeting at him from outside the TNT studios in Atlanta, where O’Neal is a regular on “The NBA on TNT.”
According to lawyers, the exchange between O’Neal and a process server was recorded on camera, although it has yet to be disclosed. O’Neal did not respond to an interview request.
“His home video cameras recorded our service, and we have made it very clear that he is not to destroy or erase any of these security tapes,” Moskowitz added. “Mr. O’Neal will now be required to appear in federal court and explain to his millions of followers his’FTX: I Am All In’ false advertising campaign.”
The complaint also names football player Tom Brady and “Seinfeld” creator Larry David as defendants. O’Neal, who Moskowitz claimed had “been hiding and driving away from our process servers for the past three months,” was the final figure to be served on Sunday.
The case was brought in the Southern District of Florida of the United States District Court.
The lengthy battle to serve O’Neal was so dramatic that one process server allegedly quit after receiving a text message that appeared to threaten his wife, Beth Shaw.
“Shaq lives in the Bahamas you stupid fuck give Beth Shaw my regards,” the text message said, according to court documents. It is unknown who sent the message. The case demonstrates how difficult it may be to serve a celebrity, especially one who is frequently in the public eye. According to court documents, O’Neal has houses in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, California, and the Bahamas. Lawyers were particularly interested in his Texas address since O’Neal is growing his Big Chicken restaurant franchise there.
In the aftermath of FTX’s demise, O’Neal has attempted to dissociate himself from the company. “I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,” O’Neal admitted when the company filed for bankruptcy. Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has pled not guilty to criminal fraud charges in federal court, while three other corporate officials have pleaded guilty.