Bill Russell Suing The NCAA

Former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for using his likeness without paying him or seeking his consent. EA Sports, the maker of the game, is also named in the suit.

The suit is yet another in the long line of athletes seeking compensation for the unauthorized use of their likeness. Russell is accusing the game maker for using his likeness in the “Tournament of Legends” feature in the NCAA basketball video game.

The lawsuit (Russell v. NCAA, 11-04938, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California) was filed Wednesday in an Oakland, CA federal court.

The lawsuit claims the NCAA violated antitrust laws by keeping former student athletes from receiving compensation for the commercial use of their likeness.

Russell led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956 and won 11 NBA titles (in 13 years) with the Boston Celtics. The five- time NBA Most Valuable Player is a champion both on and off the court and was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February.

NCAA spokesman, Chris Radford and Jeff Brown, an Electronic Arts spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails and voicemails seeking comment on the lawsuit.

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