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Blackmon v. Iverson
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
324 F. Supp. 2d 602 (2003)
Jamil Blackmon (plaintiff) was a family friend of Allen Iverson (defendant). Blackmon provided support to Iverson’s family beginning in 1987, which included financial support and the occasional provision of a place to stay. In 1994, Blackmon suggested that Iverson use the nickname The Answer while playing in summer-league basketball tournaments. Blackmon and Iverson discussed potential marketing aspects of the nickname that could be used in connection with clothing, sports apparel, and shoes. Later the same day, Iverson promised to give Blackmon 25 percent of the proceeds from any products sold in connection with the nickname. Blackmon devoted time and money to developing the concept of this nickname, including hiring a graphic designer to develop logos for the nickname. Blackmon and Iverson continued to discuss the idea during Iverson’s freshman year at college, and Iverson reiterated the promise to pay Blackmon 25 percent of the proceeds related to the nickname. In 1996, Iverson was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, a National Basketball Association (NBA) team. Iverson persuaded Blackmon to move to Philadelphia during the 1997 to 1998 NBA season to begin seeking profits from Blackmon’s ideas. Iverson entered into a contract with Reebok International Ltd., which began manufacturing and selling merchandise using the nickname The Answer. Blackmon continued to develop logos and graphics for the nickname. Iverson again assured Blackmon that Blackmon would receive 25 percent of the proceeds related to the nickname. However, Iverson never paid Blackmon, and Blackmon sued Iverson for breach of contract. Iverson filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McLaughlin, J.)
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