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NBA's Morris Twins Not Guilty In Basketball Attack

10/3/2017 4:13 PM PDT
Breaking News

NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris have just been found not guilty of beating a man to a bloody pulp after a 2015 youth basketball game.

Both Marcus (who plays for the Boston Celtics) and Markieff (who plays for the Washington Wizards) appeared in an Arizona courtroom on Tuesday where they were acquitted on aggravated assault charges. 

As we previously reported, the brothers were accused of joining 3 others guys in a brutal beatdown of Erik Hood, a former acquaintance ... after Hood allegedly sent inappropriate texts to the mother of the twins. 

The jury began deliberating Monday afternoon and had a verdict on Tuesday. It's huge for the Morris brothers considering they were facing possible prison time if convicted. 

Byron Scott Burglary Cameras Capture 2 Men In Bushes ... Cops Investigating

10/3/2017 12:45 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Right before Byron Scott's home was burglarized, surveillance cameras captured 2 men -- 1 wearing a hooded jacket -- skulking around the property, TMZ Sports has learned. 

We broke the story, the Hermosa Beach, CA home where the former L.A. Lakers player and head coach lives was ransacked over the weekend, with intruders making off with expensive purses, jewelry, guns and more. In total, we're told the loot was worth more than $200k. 

Sources in Scott's camp tell us they're hopeful surveillance footage showing the men walking around the home around the time of the incident will help investigators. The footage has already been turned over to cops. 

So far, no arrests have been made.  

LaVar Ball Yanks LaMelo Outta High School ... to Personally Coach Him

10/2/2017 4:12 PM PDT
Breaking News

LaVar Ball is taking his son LaMelo's hoops career into his own hands -- pulling the top prospect out of Chino Hills High School so he can personally train 'Melo over the next 2 years.

"I'm going to make him the best basketball player ever," LaVar told the L.A. Times' Eric Sondheimer.

LaVar says LaMelo will officially be checked outta Chino on Tuesday ... and won't play any games in public until AAU ball rolls around in the spring. 

The Big Baller dad says the shift will benefit 'Melo since there will be "less distractions." 

High school officials told us LaMelo's BBB shoe deal would NOT disqualify him from playing HS basketball ... so this is probably just LaVar trying to get his kid to the next level.

He's previously hailed 'Melo as the best baller of his three sons, including Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

Houston Rockets Buyer My Casino's Pitching In ... to Help Vegas Victims

10/2/2017 10:59 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Tilman Fertitta -- the man who just bought the Houston Rockets -- is working with the Vegas casino he owns to help victims and first responders affected by the mass shooting, TMZ Sports has learned. 

Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget -- and we're told he's personally been on the phone with hotel management to help strategize how they can best use their resources to help out. 

We're told the Nugget has already reached out to MGM Resorts to help house families of people killed or injured in the shootings. With more than 500 people injured, lodging could be an issue and Fertitta wants to make sure the families are taken care of. 

The Nugget says staff is also offering meals to first responders and participating in blood drives -- while working on a coordinated long-term plan. 

Louisville to Rick Pitino FBI Evidence Points to You

10/2/2017 7:16 AM PDT
Breaking News

The interim president of the University of Louisville told Rick Pitino the school believes FBI documents incriminate him and his coaching staff in an NCAA bribery/recruiting scandal. 

Despite the fact that neither Pitino nor any member of his staff was mentioned by name in the FBI charging documents, Gregory Postel sent Pitino a letter on Sept. 27 saying the investigation clearly points to him. 

"The information provided by the Office of the U.S. Attorney ... is disturbing and unprecedented in its allegations of willful misconduct, violations of NCAA Bylaws, and dishonesty, and serve to severely damage the reputation of the University of Louisville."

"The allegations contained in the complaint ... insinuate a scheme of fraud and malfeasance in the recruitment of student-athletes involving you and multiple members of your coaching staff in violation of federal law and NCAA Division I Bylaws."

FYI, the FBI alleges a high-profile Adidas exec teamed up with a D1 basketball coach to funnel huge payments to high school players in an effort to get them into Adidas sponsored D1 basketball programs. The University clearly believes the coach referenced in the documents is Pitino. 

Postel told Pitino he would be placed on unpaid administrative leave -- but would be given the opportunity to defend himself before a final decision is made on termination.

Postel told Pitino he would know his fate no later than April 30, 2018. 

As for Pitino, he has lawyered up -- insists he's innocent -- and insinuated he's ready to sue the school for wrongful termination if need be. 

Pitino has a lot on the line -- the remainder of his contract is reportedly worth around $40 mil. 

Dennis Schroder Initiated Fight at Hookah Bar ... Cops Say

9/29/2017 10:42 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Atlanta Hawks star Dennis Schroder shoved another man outside of a hookah bar in Georgia early Friday morning -- triggering a group beatdown that was all caught on video ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

We've obtained the police report which shows the 24-year-old NBA star was hanging out with a group of friends around 2AM at a restaurant called 6AM, which is connected to a hookah bar. 

Cops say they were called in response to a fight and when they arrived Schroder and his crew were trying to leave. 

Cops found surveillance video which show Schroder and his friends in a "verbal heated exchange" with another man. But things escalated when Schroder threw the first shove -- triggering his friends to basically jump the guy. 

"[The victim] was struck by hands and feet by the offenders."

Eventually, security broke up the fight. The victim was transported to the hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries. 

Schroder and his 3 friends were all arrested for battery

The surveillance video was collected and submitted as evidence. Guessing the Hawks are gonna wanna see that. 

Ansel Elgort: Happy for Carmelo 'Didn't Belong On Knicks Anymore'

9/28/2017 2:28 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Did you know ... "Baby Driver" star Ansel Elgort is a DIE-HARD Knicks fan?

It's true -- and when we saw the actor out in NYC on Wednesday he sounded off about losing Carmelo Anthony

"I'm happy for Carmelo, he didn't belong on the Knicks anymore."

Don't get it twisted, Elgort isn't throwing shade -- but says he's definitely not gonna root as hard for Melo now that he's playing for the OKC Thunder. 

But the funniest part of the clip is when Elgort gives Knicks credit for not doing something "stupid" like trading away Porzingis for Kyrie Irving

L.A. Sparks' Essence Carson: WNBA Finals Protest ... NOT ABOUT THE FLAG!

9/28/2017 10:57 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

L.A. Sparks player Essence Carson is telling TMZ Sports why the team walked off the court for the national anthem during games 1 and 2 of the WNBA Finals this week ... and why it's NOT about the flag.

FYI, the Sparks were booed in Minneapolis when they returned to the floor following their demonstration -- but Carson says people are completely missing the point of the protest.

"Everyone's so focused on the flag. It's not even about the flag. It's about racial equality, criminal justice reform, police brutality and everything along those lines and I feel like people are forgetting that."

Carson says she hopes "one day [people] will finally understand the point of it all."

Essence also says she feels like she's truly standing up for something she believes in -- and it doesn't sound like the team will stop the demonstration anytime soon.

Dominique Wilkins Once Beat The Hell Outta NCAA Bribery Suspect

9/28/2017 12:45 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

One of the men arrested in the FBI's NCAA hoops sting has been hit with charges before -- after getting hit by Dominique Wilkins ... and TMZ Sports has the face-busting footage. 

Turns out, Rashan Michel -- a high-end suit maker -- has been on TMZ before. Let's go back to 2011 when he fought Wilkins after an NBA basketball game in Atlanta ... and got punched HARD right in his eye. 

At the time, Michel claimed Wilkins owed him $13,000 for custom suits -- so he tried to confront Wilkins at a basketball game. He got punched for his trouble and arrested for battery. He took a mug shot with a shiner under his eye.

Now, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY says Michel done messed up again.

This time, he's accused of teaming up with Auburn asst. basketball coach Chuck Person in a bribery scheme where he would help Person take money and in exchange they would steer players to a particular financial advisor. 

Michel was arrested on Tuesday and has been hit with a ton of charges including bribery and wire fraud. 

Rick Pitino: I've Done Nothing Wrong No Evidence Against Me!

9/27/2017 4:28 PM PDT
Breaking News

Rick Pitino says there's not a SHRED of evidence proving he did anything wrong to justify his firing -- and has lawyered up in what seems to be a prelude to a legal war with Louisville. 

As we previously reported, the University of Louisville says it put Pitino on "unpaid administrative leave" in the wake of an FBI probe of an Adidas exec, who was allegedly bribing recruits to attend Adidas sponsored schools, including UL. 

While Pitino hasn't been formally accused of a crime -- and no other Louisville staffer has been accused either -- the school took action anyway ... and Rick is pissed. 

"Coach Pitino has done nothing wrong and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise," his attorneys said in a statement ... adding, "The rush to judgment is regrettable."

Pitino's legal team says the school "did not give him prior notice of the disciplinary action or an opportunity to be heard, as required by University policy."

In a preview of what's to come, Pitino's lawyer said, "The matter will now follow its legal course."

Pitino insists there is no evidence that would implicate him in any type of misconduct or other activity that would violate the terms of his contract.

Pitino says the "complete and accurate facts" will inevitably exonerate him.

Bottom line -- prepare for legal war. 

Louisville Basketball Top Recruit Decommits Over NCAA Scandal

9/27/2017 11:12 AM PDT

It's gone from bad to worse for Louisville ... the school's top high school recruit says he's officially DECOMMITTING to UL in the wake of the NCAA bribery scandal involving the university. 

Anfernee Simons -- a 6'3" point guard from Florida -- was hailed as UL's top recruit, a 5-star player who's ranked in the Top 20 on every major recruiting list. He just started his senior year in high school. 

But with Louisville referenced in the FBI probe into corruption in college basketball -- and a possible link to 6-figure bribery involving one of the top marketing people at Adidas -- Simons says he's out. 

"Due to the recent events that have taken place, it's in my best interest to de-commit from the University of Louisville," Simons says.

"This was a very tough decision to make and I am deeply saddened by this. I appreciate all of the support from the Louisville fans."

Simons says he will be "reopening my recruitment" -- which is huge for schools that had gone after him in previous years ... including Florida, OK State, Tennessee and more. 

Rick Pitino Out At Louisville ... Amid NCAA Scandal

9/27/2017 8:51 AM PDT
Breaking News

10:06 AM PT -- University of Louisville interim president Greg Postel says Rick Pitino has technically been placed on unpaid administrative leave, effective immediately.Rick Pitino has just been fired by Louisville, according to multiple reports ... marking the first big-name head coach to get the ax after the FBI corruption sting that rocked NCAA basketball on Tuesday. 

Federal prosecutors say an Adidas executive worked with basketball coaches from Louisville in an illegal scheme to pay high school recruits to ultimately attend the University. 

Neither the University nor any Louisville coaches have been formally accused of wrongdoing ... at least not yet. However, the Adidas exec has been arrested. 

Pitino has maintained his innocence since the allegations came to light ... with his lawyer, Steve Pence, promising "a bare-knuckle fight" should the university choose to fire him.

"These allegations come as a complete shock to me," Pitino said in a statement.

"If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney's Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville."

"Our fans and supporters deserve better, and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."

Athletic Director Tom Jurich was also relieved of his duties.

Stephen Jackson Let The NCAA Pay Its Players ... Or Let 'Em Skip College!

9/27/2017 9:41 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Hey, NCAA -- here's a simple solution to all your corruption problems ... PAY YOUR DAMN PLAYERS -- so says former NBA star Stephen Jackson.

Stack wasn't too in the know on college basketball's recruiting scandal when we got him at LAX ... but he told TMZ Sports he was 100% behind the idea of NCAA hoops stars makin' bank. 

"If you can go to war at 18 and kill yourself, why you can't get paid for basketball?"

S-Jax thanks the lord he didn't have to be a broke college athlete ... even though it took him years to make the NBA outta high school. 

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