Lawsuit Filed Over Bad Penny Hardaway Sponsorship Deal

A Memphis law firm has filed a lawsuit after a Penny Hardaway sponsorship deal went awry.
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A Memphis law firm has filed a lawsuit after a Penny Hardaway sponsorship deal went awry, reportsThe Commercial Appeal's Jason Munz and Mark Giannotto.

According to The Commercial Appeal, Reaves Law Firm is suing Tiger Sports Properties, which is the multimedia rights holder of University of Memphis athletics, alleging it agreed to an exclusive marketing and sponsorship contract with the Memphis basketball coach without his approval. Tiger Sports Properties is the local arm of Learfield IMG College and is separate from the university's athletics department. The university isn't named in the lawsuit.

The suit, which was filed Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court, was in response to a letter from Hardaway's representatives sent to Reaves Law Firm. The letter stated Tiger Sports Properties was "not authorized to grant" use of the coach's name, image and or likeness. Hardaway's representative threatened legal action if the firm moved forward in the agreement.  

In the contract between Tiger Sports Properties and Reaves Law Firm, the firm was supposed to pay a total of $370,000 over the next five years for Hardaway's endorsement and other clauses including access to the coach.

In its suit against Tiger Sports Properties, Reaves Law Firm is seeking at least $75,000 in damages as well as punitive damages.

Hardaway took over at Memphis in 2018, returning to where he played college basketball.