The makers of the super popular NBA2K franchise allegedly crossed up a legendary streetballer by making a character who looked just like him and now he’s suing the company and claiming he never gave them permission.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Phillip Champion — known to AND1 mixtape fans as Hot Sauce — is suing Take-Two Interactive Software over last year’s version of the game, NBA2K18.
Champion says Take-Two used his name and likeness to promote the game and “announced to the general public and media venues that the game features a portion of the game where Plaintiff’s name and likeness would be a main attraction of the streetball portion of the video game.”
When the game was released, Champion (who also goes by the name Hot Sizzle) says he “discovered that the game used several portraits of Plaintiff for a character in the game as a street-ball player named ‘Hot Sizzles.'”
Champion also claims the character “incorporated numerous personal aspects” of his life.
In the lawsuit, Champion says he never gave the game permission to use his name or likeness and claims they’ve been profiting off him and he’s received nothing from them.
“It is unequivocal,” the lawsuit states, “that the Plaintiff was the intended referent in the NBA2K8 game by using his name, likeness, portraits and images solely to advertise the game for trade purposes and by specifically using ‘Hot Sizzle’ in the game to attract sales of the defendant’s video game.”
He is seeking unspecified damages.
Hot Sauce has gained notoriety in recent years through his gig with the Atlanta Hawks where they pull fans out of the crowd to try and steal the ball from him. Spoiler alert: they never do.
The Blast reached out to Take-Two for comment — so far, no word back.