Retired NBA star Steve Nash is suing his former business partners in Canadian court to have his name removed from 21 British Columbia gyms, according to a report by the Vancouver Sun.
Among those named in the civil suit are SNFW Fitness BC Ltd., which operates all Steve Nash Fitness World gyms, and Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness who now owns New Evolution Ventures (NEV), the parent company of Crunch Fitness and UFC Gym.
Nash and his company, B & L Holdings Inc., are accusing the defendants of breach of contract and damages, according to the Sun. In 2007, Nash started Steve Nash Sports Clubs in the Vancouver area. By 2009, that location had expanded to three when Nash, Mastrov, Angelo Gordon & Co. and Montreal businessman Leonard Schlemm partnered to purchase Fitness World, renaming the Fitness World clubs and the Steve Nash Sports Clubs as Steve Nash Fitness World.
After Mastrov became part owner of the NBA's Sacramento Kings in 2013, he could no longer be a part owner in Steve Nash Fitness World gyms as league rules precluded team owners from doing business with NBA players, according to the Sun. At that time, Nash was an active NBA player. The following year, Mastrov transferred his shares to Schlemm and incorporated SNFW. The suit alleges Nash was then misled into selling B & L Holdings' shares to both Mastrov and Schlemm.
The suit states: "B & L Holdings Inc. has received no compensation from SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. for the use of the name 'Steve Nash' to promote these fitness facilities. Steve Nash has not, since October 14, 2014, had any involvement with the operations of the fitness facilities. ... He has not signed an affidavit certifying that he endorses the fitness facilities in any way."
In a statement obtained by the CBC, SNFW representatives said they intend to produce in court agreements signed by Nash allowing the company exclusive rights to his name, voice, signature and likeness.
"While we have nothing but respect for Mr. Nash and what he has accomplished as a Canadian athlete, we are confident with our legal position and intend to aggressively defend our rights," the statement said.