British Columbia

Steve Nash suing to have name removed from B.C. fitness clubs

Steve Nash is suing his former business partners to have his name and image removed from 21 Steve Nash Fitness World locations in British Columbia.

Sacramento Kings' owner Mark Mastrov named as one of the defendants in the suit

A civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court states Steve Nash is seeking to have his name and image removed from Fitness World and Sports Club locations in B.C. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Steve Nash is suing his former business partners to have his name and image removed from 21 Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club locations in British Columbia.

The retired NBA star and Victoria native is named as a plaintiff in a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court. The claim is alleging breach of contract, which has resulted in Nash and his company, B & L Holdings Inc., being pushed out of the chain of fitness centres.

The claim names SNFW Fitness BC Ltd., Sacramento King's part-owner Mark Mastrov and Montreal businessman Leonard Schlemm as defendants.  

There are 21 Steve Nash Fitness World locations in B.C. (Steve Nash Fitness World)

The claim says Nash and B & L Holdings Inc. saw their share value in the fitness centre business undermined through a series of behind-the-scenes dealings that was misrepresented to them.  

The falling out appears be triggered by Mastrov's 2013 purchase of the NBA's Sacramento Kings. NBA rules forbid owners and players from being in business together, and Nash was a member of the NBA's L.A. Lakers at the time.  

In July of 2014 Mastrov transferred all of his shares in the company operating the fitness clubs to Schlemm without notifying Nash, according to the claim.

It goes on to say that B & L Holdings Inc. was eventually forced to sell its shares, which it did in October of 2014,  to Schlemm and Mastrov, .

​The claim states since then, "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."

Besides seeking to prevent the fitness centres from using the Steve Nash name and image, the suit is also seeking damages and costs. 

Defendants respond

In a statement, SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. said it was "saddened", adding it had not received Nash's civil claim or had conversations about his concerns prior to the lawsuit. 

"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.

"In due course, the company will establish before the courts that it has the lawful and exclusive right, pursuant to written agreements signed by Mr. Nash personally, to use Mr. Nash's name, voice, signature, likeness and image within British Columbia in the operation of its business."

Nash first became connected with the fitness club business in B.C. in 2006. Mastrov and Schlemm previously owned a chain of clubs known as 24 Hour Fitness.

Nash was named the NBA's most valuable player in 2005 and 2006 and is recognized as one of the best athletes to ever come from Canada. He currently works with the NBA's Golden State Warriors in player development.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

Governor General David Johnston invests Steve Nash as an Officer of the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, Friday May 13, 2016 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld /Canadian Press)