Former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, who appeared in a commercial for FTX earlier this year, is trying to distance himself from FTX and the crypto industry as a whole.
O’Neal has not revealed how much money he received for appearing in a FTX commercial this past June. O’Neal told CNBC his friendship with fellow NBA great Stephen Curry was part of the reason why he agreed to star in an FTX spot, as reported by CNBC.
“A lot of people think I’m involved, but I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,” O’Neal says.
In an interview on CNBCs Make It This Week, O’Neal took questions on his connection to now-bankrupt crypto trading platform FTX. O’Neal is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit filed last month against the now-defunct crypto exchange FTX. The suit stems from his role in an ad that promoted the exchange. O’Neal told CNBC he was merely a celebrity figure in a promotional spot, nothing more.
O’Neal went further to say he doesn’t believe in cryptocurrency.
The SEC alleges FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried misdirected client funds in order to benefit himself and his cryptocurrency hedge fund, Alameda Research. O’Neill is one of a number of well-known names named in the class-action lawsuit filed Nov. 15 against FTX, its high-profile backers, and its founder.
The cryptocurrency world was rocked on November 11, when FTX filed for bankruptcy, and ever since, FTXs new CEO, John Ray, has divulged how poorly run the behemoth was.
Texas is now separately investigating a number of celebrities who were supporters of FTX, as a possible violation of the state’s securities laws, according to Bloomberg. Other athletes and celebrities who have been featured in FTX ads include Steph Curry, Tom Brady, and comedian Larry David, all of whom are also named in the suit.
Cover photo: Army.Mil