Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 10/6/11
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Bloomberg is reporting that Bill Russell, the second greatest player in NBA history, is suing the NCAA for violating federal antitrust law by preventing college athletes for earning money from the use of their likenesses.

Russell, who won two NCAA titles at the University of San Francisco and whose image appears in a “Tournament of Legends” feature in EA’s NCAA basketball video game, joins former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon in taking legal action against the NCAA for its use of athletes’ likenesses.

William “Bill” Russell, the former National Basketball Association star center for the Boston Celtics, accused the National Collegiate Athletic Association in an antitrust complaint of selling videos using his likeness without paying him or seeking his consent.

The lawsuit is the latest to claim the NCAA violates federal antitrust laws by keeping former student basketball and football athletes from receiving compensation for the commercial use of their images and likeness. The association has denied wrongdoing in those cases.

Electronic Arts Inc., the second-largest U.S. video game maker, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Russell accuses it of using his image in a “Tournament of Legends” feature on an NCAA basketball video game.

Russell, who led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, said in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California, that the association sells $150 videos of the team’s championship games. At least 54 video clips featuring him are available through the website of the NCAA’s for-profit business partner and photos of him through an NCAA on-line photo store, according to the complaint.

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