LaMelo Ball is being sued by a former publicist who alleges she is owed more than $10 million for public relations services she provided the Charlotte Hornets guard in 2019, including appearances on a streamed sports show and a shoe deal.
Amber Johnson’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges breach of contract. A representative for the 20-year-old Ball could not be immediately reached.
According to the suit, in June 2019 Johnson obtained an opportunity for Ball on the live-streaming show “Game Time” on the social broadcasting platform Caffeine.tv.
After Ball’s success on the show, Ball and his agent and manager, Jermaine Jackson, said Ball wanted Johnson to provide public relations services and obtain brand name partnership deals with Ball, the suit states.
The parties verbally agreed the next month that Johnson would be paid a 10% finder’s fee for any brand deals that she obtained for Ball, plus reimbursement of any out-of-pocket costs she incurred on his behalf, the suit states.
That same month, Johnson contacted the entertainment division of Puma North America Inc. to find out whether the company might be interested in a brand partnership with Ball in which the guard would be paid for wearing Puma shoes, the suit states.
But after talks appeared headed toward a deal, Jackson, a 45-year-old former NBA guard, told Johnson in August 2019 to stop talks with Puma because Ball was likely going to enter a similar deal with Nike, according to the suit.
However despite Jackson’s representations, Johnson later found out that Ball signed his own $100 million deal with Puma, the suit states.
“Johnson … alleges that she was integral in identifying a potential deal between Ball and Puma,” the suit states.
Johnson also provided other public relations services and incurred about $4,870 in personal expenses pursuant working on Ball’s behalf, including buying apparel for Ball and Jackson to attend a celebrity derby in San Diego and paying an agent to pitch a docuseries idea about Ball to the Fox network, the suit states. However, Johnson was never reimbursed, according to the suit.
Johnson alleges Ball owes her more than $10 million based on finder’s fees for the Caffeine.tv and Puma deals, plus the out-of-pocket money she spent on his behalf.