Steve Nash gym owners go on legal offence against former basketball superstar

Steve Nash gym owners fire back at sports star

VANCOUVER — A chain of fitness clubs accused of using Steve Nash’s name without permission is going on the offensive and suing the former basketball superstar’s company for allegedly damaging its reputation.

SNFW Fitness BC Ltd., which runs 21 gyms across British Columbia, has filed a counterclaim in B.C. Supreme Court, asserting that it retained the legal right to use what it calls the “Nash endorsement” after parting ways with its famous frontman in 2014.

“SNFW has and continues to suffer loss, damage and expense, including but not limited to damage to reputation and the cost of rebranding the SNFW business in the context of … Nash’s public repudiation of the Nash endorsement,” says the counter lawsuit, which was filed in late 2016.

Nash’s Arizona-based company, B & L Holdings, filed a lawsuit against SNFW Fitness in October, accusing it of illegally using Nash’s brand after his relationship with two business partners fell apart two years earlier.

Besides the fitness chain, defendants in the claim include Mark Mastrov, a part-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and Quebec businessman Leonard Schlemm.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and none of the parties named in the legal actions responded immediately to requests for comment.

The original notice of civil claim filed by B & L Holdings says the company gave permission in 2006 for the unlimited use of Nash’s name and image to a firm responsible for running a pair of Steve Nash Fitness Clubs.

The document says the legal agreement was transferred through several companies, precipitated in part by Mastrov’s purchase of an ownership interest in the Sacramento Kings. NBA rules regulate the extent to which franchise owners can be in business with players, and Nash was with the Los Angeles Lakers at the time.

The lawsuit claims that Nash has not received any compensation for the use of his name and personal brand since he sold his shares evenly to Mastrov and Schlemm in 2014.

In their response to the notice of civil claim, Mastrov and Schlemm say the company has the lawful and exclusive right by Nash to use his name, voice, signature, likeness and image within British Columbia.

The document alleges Nash knowingly sold his stake in the company and that the rights transferred in that sale included the ability to use the Nash endorsement.

It says B & L Holdings received $1,871,180 in exchange for Nash’s shares.

Both sides are seeking unspecified damages and costs as part of the lawsuit.

Nash was twice named the NBA’s most valuable player over his nearly two decades with the league, becoming the first Canadian to receive the award.

— Follow @gwomand on Twitter

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Sheila Gardiner-Watt

The Kelowna Capital News celebrates those in the community who go above and beyond

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Announced this week in Kelowna

A listing of some of the events that were announced in the Kelowna area this week

Big White ski instructor named Top 10 in Canada

Big White’s Josh Foster has been selected for the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA) Interski team

Kelowna restaurant hosts popular New York Chef

Need something to do this Valentine’s Day?

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Letter: Site C figures not correct

Kelowna letter-writer raises questions about the Site C dam project

Letter: Site C opponents are whining

If native treaty rights are being disrespected, just who is disrespecting them?

Albas: Canada Jobs program being politicized

Conservative MP Dan Albas’ weekly column takes on the student summer job plan

Fuhr: Pension for Life is a commitment to veterans

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr talks about his government’s commitment to veterans

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Rockets take down Royals

Kole Lind has four points and Jack Cowell scores twice as Rockets rebound from 7-2 loss at Seattle

Most Read