CHICAGO (CN) – Michael Jordan wants $10 million from a pair of grocery stores that he says used his name and jersey number without permission in ads published in a commemorative Sports Illustrated issue. In a pair of lawsuits filed in Cook County Court, Jordan says Dominick’s Finer Foods and Jewel Food Stores took their messages of congratulations too far when they took out spots in the 2009 issue, “Jordan: A Hall of Fame Career.”
Jordan says Dominick’s ad used his name and his jersey number, 23, on “what appears to be a red Chicago Bulls jersey, with black numbers and letters outlined in white.” The ad includes a picture of a Rancher’s Reserve steak with the words, “You are a cut above.”
Jordan says the ad falsely suggests that he endorses the brand of steaks, which conflicts with his endorsements of two steak restaurants and a Web site that sells steak.
Jordan says the Jewel-Osco ad on the back cover of the issue features “a photograph of a pair of red and white basketball shoes, each with the number 23 on the tongue,” the lawsuit states.
Jordan says the picture is an “inaccurate and misleading copy” of his Nike Air Jordan shoes.
He says he’s never approved any endorsements for the grocery stores, and added that he rejects “far more requests to use his name and persona than he grants” to maintain the value of his endorsements.
Jordan seeks $5 million from each grocery store for false endorsement, consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices and unfair competition. He also wants the stores to run corrected ads in future Sports Illustrated issues.
Jordan is represented by Frederick Sperling with Schiff Hardin.