BEIJING, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Iconic U.S. basketball star Michael Jordan is suing a Chinese sporting goods company for using his name and jersey number, the athlete's law firm said.
In China, the first name in Qiaodan Sports Co. Ltd. is pronounced "cheow-DEN," The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The company has been marketing sports items under that name since the late 1980s and one of Jordan's tasks will be to prove his international fame proceeded that, the Journal said.
Jordan, who helped the Chicago Bulls basketball franchise win six National Basketball Association championships in the 90s, does not have his name registered as a trademark in China.
In China, however, use of a famous name is illegal whether or not it has been registered.
In a video explaining his lawsuit, Jordan said, "It's not about the money. It's about principle -- protecting my identity and my name."
Jordan said whatever monetary award he wins in the case will be donated to the promotion of basketball in China.
Two NBA players from China, Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian have won similar lawsuits. Yao successfully sued Wuhan Yunhe Sharks Sportswear Co. over its "Yao Ming Era" logo and Yi prevailed in a case against Fujian Yi Jianlian Sports Good Co.