City Paper is not for tourists
Thanks to local legal angles, the reality show Basketball Wiveshas more to do with courts of the litigational variety than hoops these days.
The guy formerly known as Agent Zero and onetime bloggers’ hearththrob Gilbert Arenas is suing Shed Media, which produces the VH1 program, as well as longtime girlfriend and mother of many of his children Laura Govan, claiming the producer and his ex have, among other things, infringed on his trademarks and misappropriated his likeness. Govan was set to be a cast member of the next season of the series, scheduled to debut later this summer.
Arenas claims Govan wants to “promote her own commercial brand and become a television personality” through the show, and that Shed Media plans to profit off Govan’s exploitation of her past relationship with Arenas.
“Basketball Wives” is not protected by the right to free expression, Arenas says: “Defendants are not ‘expressing’ anything other than their attempt to profit from plaintiff’s fame.
“Though the promotional materials for “Basketball Wives” do not explicitly mention Arenas, he says, “the very presence of defendant Govan and the title of the show is an obvious reference to plaintiff and use of plaintiff’s likeness; for example, on June 20, 2011, the same day that defendant Shed Media issued a press release through VH1, the Washington Post published a story titled, ‘Laura Govan, Gilbert Arenas’s Ex, Joins Cast of ‘Basketball Wives LA.'”
Meanwhile, Montgomery County’s Allison Mathis has just filed suit against Chris Bosh for allegedly getting her booted off the next season of Basketball Wives.
Bosh, along with being an NBA All-Star and member of the non-title winning Miami Heat’s Big Three, is the father of Mathis’ daughter.
Mathis’s name has appeared in Washington City Paper over the years in stories about various notorieties resulting from her ties to basketball guys.
In 1998, when she was a high school student at St. John’s Prospect Hall, Mathis and All-American prep baller Damien Wilkins were expelled after allegedly getting caught in some sort of romantic tangle inside the school building, which was taboo at the school. The expulsions were upheld after a racially charged federal lawsuit filed by the kids’ parents, and the St. John’s basketball program, which was the top program in the country at the time, was disbanded.
(Wilkins, son of NBA vet Gerald Wilkins and nephew of Dominique Wilkins) went on to a long NBA career: He played with the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks this season.)
Then in 2008, Mathis was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter for her extreme heckling of LeBron James during a Toronto Raptors/Cleveland Cavaliers game in Canada. James told reporters after the game that the heckler, who was identified at the time as “Chris Bosh’s girlfriend,” fueled him during his 24-point 4th-quarter performance in that game.
And in 2010, Mathis filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court alleging Bosh abandoned her and their child (Mathis alleged Bosh dumped her shortly after the baby was conceived during the 2008 All-Star Game Weekend).
From that complaint:
By late September 2008, several utility companies were threatening to disconnectessential services – electricity, gas and water, to the home in which she was living. With her first baby on the way in just a few months, the father of her child, who was earning, upon information and belief, over One Million Dollars per month at that time, left her with no money, no housing security, no transportation, and no way to pay for pre-natal care.
That suit was settled. But Bosh filed a suit of his own against Mathis earlier this year after finding out she was in line to be a member of the cast of the next season of Basketball Wives.
According to Mathis’ latest suit, Bosh’s maneuverings cost her the gig.
From TMZ’s report on Mathis’ complaint:
According to the docs, Bosh lied to producers — and told them Allison had several court-orders in effect which prohibit her from appearing on camera. Bosh also allegedly threatened to sue producers if they put her on the show. Mathis claims the producers folded like a cheap suit — and axed her from the show … after she had already taped two episodes.
TMZ also reported Mathis was to be paid at least $2,500 per episode.
Given the impact she had on James back in 2008, Mathis could probably command a much bigger wage frommanagement of the Miami Heat to sit courtside and yell at the King. Judging by James’ Houdini-like disappearances during every 4th quarter of the recent NBA Finals, Mathis wasn’t in the house at any of those games.
‘Course, she’d probably use the opportunity to heckle Bosh, too.