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Life's Rich Pageant

Mission Re-Accomplished: Shaq Served At Former FTX Arena

11:06 AM EDT on May 25, 2023

Shaquille O'Neal looks glum.
Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, whereas last time they merely thought they got him, this time they truly got him. As Shaquille O'Neal worked on-site for Inside the NBA Tuesday during the Miami Heat's home loss to the Boston Celtics—inside a building that as recently as January was named FTX Arena—process servers tracked down the impressively elusive big man and finally forced him to accept physical transmission of a summons and the complaint in a class-action lawsuit filed back in November 2022.

Attorney Adam Moskowitz told multiple media outlets on Wednesday that a process server purchased a ticket to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, located O'Neal on "a platform in the arena," and personally handed him the documents while filming the exchange. O'Neal subsequently "had the process server thrown out of the arena," but the mission had already been accomplished. O'Neal is accused of having used his celebrity to lure unsuspecting retail investors into dumping money into Sam Bankman-Fried's self-dealing cryptocurrency operation, which in the lawsuit is described as the "Deceptive FTX Platform." Shaq is the last of several celebrity FTX ambassadors to finally accept service as defendants in this complaint.

Process servers have been chasing O'Neal across the country for months, stationing themselves outside his residences and tweet-shaming him from outside his job. A process server in Texas abandoned the pursuit after someone inside one of O'Neal's homes sent an ominous text message referencing the server's wife; in April, plaintiffs' attorneys used this threatening exchange to argue that they should be allowed to serve O'Neal electronically, using the direct messages of Twitter and Instagram, a motion that was quickly shot down by a Florida court. Servers next thought they had O'Neal cornered outside his home in Atlanta on April 17, but in a motion to dismiss filed on O'Neal's behalf on May 8, his attorneys said O'Neal never actually took possession of the documents, as they were flung at his vehicle while he fled from "strangers lurking outside his home" who failed to properly identify themselves as process servers, possibly because they were dodging a moving car.

But this time, they got him. "It seems absurd to have to go to such great lengths to serve Mr. O’Neal, who is deputy of the law," Moskowitz said in a statement, via Bloomberg Law. "These claims now are very serious and thus it is good that we can start with the merits, instead of the silly service sideshow Mr. O’Neal unfortunately created."

If there was ever a time for O'Neal to stay on his Carmen Sandiego shit, it was Tuesday night, when the triumphant server was bearing not just the FTX lawsuit documents but documents of yet another cryptocurrency-related complaint. This one, filed this week in Florida, names O'Neal as a defendant for his dealings with "The Astrals Project." Astrals, co-founded by O'Neal in March 2022, generates "metaverse-ready 3D avatars," which in fact are just insanely ugly digital non-fungible tokens, minted and sold on the Solana blockchain. O'Neal formally endorsed Solana's SOL cryptocurrency in February 2022; by the end of the year, Solana had lost approximately 95 percent of its market value, mostly due to the broad collapse of crypto values following the November implosion of FTX. The new complaint (embedded below) says O'Neal appeared to suddenly abandon the Astrals project in early January after months of aggressive hyping, leading to a precipitous drop in the "floor price" of his stupid NFTs, the value of which the lawsuit acknowledges was "linked almost entirely to O'Neal's celebrity status and the success of his promotional efforts."

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