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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kareem's Name in Vain

SAN FRANCISCO () -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can sue General Motors for an ad that compared one of its cars to Lew Alcindor, the basketball star's former name.


The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday reinstated a lawsuit by Abdul-Jabbar, who legally changed his name in 1971, that accuses the company of violating his trademark right to use his name for commercial purposes. That right also applies to his former name, the court said, overturning a lower court ruling.


GM ran a television commercial during the 1993 NCAA men's basketball tournament. The announcer first asked who held the record for being voted the tournament's outstanding player, and the screen showed the name of Lew Alcindor of UCLA in 1967, 1968 and 1969.


The ad then said the Oldsmobile 88 had made a consumer publication's "best buy" list for three years in a row, and called the car "a definite first-round pick."