Natasha Dye is a writer-reporter for PEOPLE Digital covering sports.
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is regretting one of his paid partnerships.
The 50-year-old TNT analyst defended his participation in a commercial for the failed cryptocurrency company FTX after he was named in a lawsuit alongside other celebrities like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen.
“A lot of people think I’m involved, but I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,” O’Neal told CNBC Make It.
O'Neal admitted he wasn't fully aware of what he was promoting with the company or the success of cryptocurrency in general.
"I don't understand it," he said of cryptocurrency, and said he "will probably stay away from it until I get a full understanding of what it is."
After FTX's collapse, O'Neal said that cryptocurrency "is too good to be true," according to his own "experience" with the trend.
The lawsuit, filed by an investor on Tuesday, alleges that by endorsing the company, O’Neal and others like Naomi Osaka, Steph Curry, Shaquille O’Neal, Larry David — brought credibility to the business, according to the Associated Press.
"Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest … pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat," the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit came less than a week after the Bahamas-based company sought bankruptcy protection after amassing billions of dollars worth of losses, per the AP. Its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is being sued by the SEC and was arrested Monday in the Bahamas.
Along with relying on celebrity testimonials, the company also had the naming rights to the FTX Arena in Florida, home to the NBA's Miami Heat.
A representative for the NBA team told ESPN recently that FTX signage would be removed from the arena in the near future.
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"The reports about FTX and its affiliates are extremely disappointing," the county and team said in a joint statement. "Miami-Dade County and the Miami HEAT are immediately taking action to terminate our business relationships with FTX. We will be working together to find a new naming rights partner for the arena."
FTX also had previous sponsorship deals with the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards, in addition to naming rights to a Formula One racing team, per ESPN.
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