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Kobe Bryant Hell Yeah, I Threw Punches at Shaq ... He Started It!!

3/9/2018 7:17 AM PST
Breaking News

Imagine seeing the massive fist of a 7-foot-1-inch giant coming at your face ... then imagine having the cojones to throw a punch right back!! 

Kobe Bryant gave a blow-by-blow of his very first physical altercation with Shaq on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Thursday night ... revealing the Big Aristotle was the first to throw hands.

Black Mamba says the 2 Laker legends duked it out after trash talking throughout a scrimmage during the 1998 NBA lockout.

"I must've been the craziest 19-year-old in the world to fight this guy ... at that point, you just gotta say look man, you're either gonna beat the hell outta me, but you're gonna know that I'm not gonna back down."

And they never had another conflict again. Oh wait ... 

OKC Thunder Player Knocked Out Cold! ... By His Teammate!!

3/9/2018 6:42 AM PST
Breaking News

OKC Thunder star Steven Adams knocked his teammate OUT COLD in a game last night ... but they weren't fighting -- Adams was literally standing still!

The bizarre play went down at the Chesapeake Energy Arena ... when Thunder rookie Terrance Ferguson tried to stay with his man on D. 

Unfortunately, standing in his way was 7 feet, 255 pounds of chiseled Jason Momoa-looking muscle (Adams) ... and Ferguson's svelte 6'7'', 184-pound frame couldn't handle the business. 

The 2 collided heads -- and DOWN WENT FERGY. Adams was totally fine, BTW.

Steven, being the good dude that he is, quickly got the rook some medical attention ... and it looks like Terrance is gonna be OK outside of a possible concussion.

But damn, lesson learned -- don't tango with Steven Adams.

Roy Hibbert Don't Write Off Derrick Rose ... Still Got Talent!

3/8/2018 1:33 PM PST

Don't mock the Timberwolves for signing Derrick Rose -- because the dude still has potential to be a championship caliber player ... so says Roy Hibbert

Minnesota just locked up the 29-year-old former MVP for the rest of the season, leaving many wondering if they're wasting money and a roster spot considering his failed run with the Cavs.  

But not Hibbert (a 2-time All-Star), who tells TMZ Sports he seriously thinks Rose can help elevate the T-Wolves to become a championship team. 

"He's talented, very talented," Hibbert says. 

BTW -- the Wolves are currently 6th in the super-stacked Western Conference, so it's unlikely ... but crazier things have happened.

Tinashe Ben Simmons is My 'Boo Thang'

3/8/2018 6:41 AM PST

Chalk this one up as a HUGE win for Ben Simmons ... 'cause the 76ers rookie is officially R&B star Tinashe's "boo thang" -- this according to Tinashe herself!!

TMZ Sports spoke with the smokin' hot "Faded Love" singer at Craig's in WeHo Wednesday night ... and we asked her to address the obvious IG flirting going on with Ben earlier this week.

"That's my little boo thang" the 25-year-old revealed with a smile.

While Tinashe didn't get into much detail with us ... the paper trail has been there for about a month -- from even more social media flirting to gushing about B.S. being her favorite Sixers player in a recent radio interview.

Simmons has been balling out this season -- he's in the running for Rookie of the Year.

And now that we have the confirmation of his new girl ... this dude really is winning all around.

Good for you, Ben.

Rip Hamilton Pistons Advice for Blake Griffin: Get a Heavy Coat, Bro

3/7/2018 10:57 AM PST

Rip Hamilton spent 9 years ballin' out in Detroit -- so what's his advice for the newest Pistons star Blake Griffin

Bundle up. 

The ex-NBA star was kinda laughing at the fact that Griffin went from sunny California to the frozen tundra of Detroit ... and said Blake's got no choice but to make it work 'cause he signed up for 5 seasons! 

"Make sure he get a heavy coat out there 'cause trust me, it gets cold!" 

We also asked Rip if he thinks Blake and Kendall Jenner will have a shot at making a long-distance relationship work now that he's a 4.5-hour flight away! 

Dwyane Wade Visits Stoneman Douglas H.S. 'I'm Inspired By All of You'

3/7/2018 9:33 AM PST
Breaking News

Dwyane Wade personally greeted the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday as they returned to the school for the first full day of classes since the shooting. 

Wade posed for photos and hung out with the kids as they tried to resume their education. It's the first time the school has had a full day of classes since the Valentine's Day shooting. 

Wade also gave a speech and told the kids he's proud to live in Florida and praised them for the strength they've shown after the incident. 

"I just wanted to come here today, hopefully for a moment, for a second ... bring a little excitement, bring a little joy," Wade says.  

"What you guys have been going through, and I was hearing you guys have been amazing from afar, and I just wanted to come and say I'm inspired by all of you."

Wade tweeted about the visit, saying "I just had a great conversation with some of the students at Stoneman Douglas High School about some important/impactful things that they have planned."

"I’m looking forward to being more involved in the change that they WILL create."

"Our conversation about bridging the gap between the students from Parkland, Florida and Chicago was really impressive. These young adults GET IT. They understand the power of their voices for the ones that often go unheard!" 

Matt Barnes Kobe's 'Breaking Down Barriers' ... I Got a Movie, Too!!

3/6/2018 2:19 PM PST

Kobe Bryant's Oscar win has gotten mixed reviews amid the #MeToo movement, but Matt Barnes is 100% behind his ex-NBA rival -- giving Bryant mad props for paving the way for sports stars. 

"I think it's dope. He's breaking down barriers, still being great," Barnes told TMZ Sports out at Poppy in Hollywood.

Want proof? Matt says things are really coming together for a Huey Newton/Black Panthers biopic he's producing ... and he can't wait to tell "the whole truth" behind the real BP (sorry, Marvel).

Glad Kobe and Matt are over the whole ball-in-the-face thing ...

Univ. of Arizona Legend Defends Sean Miller 'Innocent Until Proven Guilty!'

3/5/2018 10:35 AM PST

Remember Mustafa Shakur

He was a BEAST at the University of Arizona back in the day -- and now he's going to bat for hoops coach Sean Miller ... telling people to STOP assuming he's guilty of paying recruits! 

"I think we have to go by innocent until proven guilty," Shakur says ... "can't assume anything!" 

Miller has adamantly denied discussing plans to pay $100,000 to Deandre Ayton -- despite an ESPN report that the conversation was captured on an FBI wiretap. 

Shakur not only praises the university for sticking by Miller -- but also says the scandal could actually MOTIVATE the team to kill it in the NCAA tourney. 

We'll see ... in the meantime, check out this Shakur highlight. 

DeAndre Jordan to NCAA Pay Your Players ... And Don't Be Cheap!

3/5/2018 9:54 AM PST

DeAndre Jordan says the NCAA should absolutely pay its players ... and if they do, a crappy salary won't cut it.

We got DJ out at Poppy over the weekend, and the Clippers All-Star didn't shy away from our question about pay for play ... joining guys like Carmelo Anthony and Lonzo Ball who've called for change in college hoops.

As for how much they should rake ... DeAndre didn't go full LaVar, but he did call for them to earn more than millions of Americans do every year.

FYI, NCAA honcho Mark Emmert recently said paying players ain't the answer ... but also didn't offer a clear-cut plan to fix all the corruption in the league.

Woody Harrelson The Return Of Billy Hoyle ... On Set Hooping w/ Daughter

3/2/2018 7:36 AM PST
Breaking News

If you've ever wondered what happened to Billy Hoyle from "White Men Can't Jump," we've got the video for you -- Woody Harrelson showing he's still got the moves by training a new hoops generation.

Woody was on set filming his new movie, "The Highwaymen," when he took some time out to teach his youngest daughter, Makani, the same tactics he used to dominate Wesley Snipes (face it, he did).

Looks like Woody's teaching her how to finish high in the lane without killing her dribble, and demonstrating it from multiple angles on the court ... and he seems like he's still got it.

It was announced last year that 'WMCJ' was set for a reboot starring Blake Griffin ... but after seeing this, maybe it's time to scrap the reboot, and give Woody & Wesley a sequel.

Just sayin'.

DeMar DeRozan I'm Talking About Depression Because 'We All Go Through Stuff'

3/1/2018 3:50 PM PST

NBA star DeMar DeRozan doesn't want people struggling with depression to feel alone -- telling TMZ Sports that's why he opened up about his own issues during All-Star Weekend. 

"We all go through stuff," DeRozan told us in D.C. ... "You can't name nobody that don't go through something."

The Toronto Raptors All-Star first revealed his struggle on Feb. 17 -- when he tweeted out, "This depression get the best of me."

He later opened up about his mental health situation with the Toronto Star saying, "It’s not nothing I’m against or ashamed of. Now, at my age, I understand how many people go through it."

The interview clearly struck a chord with our photog, who told DeRozan straight-up how much that interview means to him. 

AND1's 'The Professor' Harden Crossover 'Not the Greatest' ... Here's Why

3/1/2018 1:20 PM PST

James Harden's crossover broke the internet -- and Wesley Johnson's ankles -- Wednesday night ... but one of the best ball handlers on the planet says he's seen way better!!

We got AND1 legend "The Professor" -- real name Grayson Boucher -- the morning after Harden's dirty cross/stare down combo vs. the Clippers ... and he told TMZ Sports why he thinks it should NOT go down with the all-time greats. 

Don't get it twisted -- Professor says the Beard's shake was "one of the best of the season, for sure" ... but to get an A+ in his class, you gotta drop fools with Allen Iverson-level sauce.

Speaking of A.I., Grayson told us whether or not Iverson's his pick for GOAT NBA crossover artist ... and who he feels is the best in the game today (and trust us -- it's a shocker). 

U of Arizona Coach Sean Miller 'I Have Done Nothing Wrong' ... No Payments to Players

3/1/2018 11:49 AM PST
Breaking News

University of Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller just came out swinging against allegations he tried to pay a top recruit $100,000 to play for him ... saying, "I have done nothing wrong."

Miller appeared at a news conference Thursday to address reports that FBI wiretaps show he discussed making a $100,000 payment to lock up high school phenom Deandre Ayton

"I have never paid a recruit to come to Arizona," Miller said ... who adds he also never DISCUSSED paying a recruit. 

In short, Miller says the allegations are inaccurate, false and defamatory. 

"I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach at this great program."

Miller says he was approached with the suggestion of paying a recruit at one point during his career at U of A ... but he did NOT agree to pay the recruit and that player did not end up at the school. 

Miller has not coached since the bombshell report surfaced on Friday -- but the school has announced he will return to action ASAP. 

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