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LeBron James Here's Another Gift, Ohio Sends 5,000 Kids to Amusement Park

8/16/2016 2:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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0816-lebron-james-tmz-facebook-01LeBron James is putting that new $100 million contract to good use, 'cause the Cavs superstar brought 5,000 kids and their families to an amusement park on Tuesday.

The annual trip to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio encourages Akron kiddos to focus on their education before entering LBJ's "I Promise" initiative -- which offers a free college education after high school.

TMZ Sports spoke with a rep from CP, who tells us, "It’s an honor to work with a wonderful, dedicated group of people who provide so much to Northeast Ohio – and we’re happy to provide a 'Best Day' experience for their program families here at the park.”

LeBron teamed up with Chase Bank to help pay for the shindig ... which also offers an opportunity to attend a sit-down convo with the King himself.

Free college AND free roller coasters? Where do we sign up?

Playboy Mansion Sold! Heir Next Door Saves Deal

8/16/2016 7:53 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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0729-playboy-mansion-getty-01Hugh Hefner can officially slap a "SOLD" sign onto his Playboy Mansion, and then head back inside for dinner ... after hammering out a deal with the PBR heir who almost lost it 11 days ago. 

The escrow closed Tuesday for Hef's neighbor Daren Metropoulos -- and we're told it went for a final price of $100 million ... a nice discount off the $110 mil offer Daren nearly closed earlier this month

We're told the compromise was lower price, but Hef gets to maintain access to the home for the rest of his life. Bottom line: Daren can't pop over whenever he wants. However, as the new landlord ... he does get to approve all parties at the mansion.

Daren -- a master re-brander of products and the Pabst Blue Ribbon heir -- who's been living next door since 2009 has already given the thumbs-up to Playboy's Midsummer Night's Dream Party next Saturday ... and the annual Halloween bash.

We're told he plans to connect the adjacent home he owns with the Playboy Mansion and restore both estates to their original versions. Daren was represented by Coldwell Banker agent Jade Mills & Mauricio Umansky represented Playboy. 

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Tenn. Titans Linebacker Tribute to 9/11 Victims With Patriotic Cleats

8/14/2016 12:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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When Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson takes the field on Sept. 11th ... he'll be playing with a special set of cleats created to honor those who passed on 9/11. 

The NFL regular season happens to begin on the 15 year anniversary of the terror attacks -- and many of the players are planning to pay tribute to the victims, first responders and other people affected by the tragedy. 

One of those players is Williamson -- who approached cleat customizer Billy Hobbs at True Blue Customs and asked for a special design ... and Hobbs came through strong.  

Hobbs airbrushed a pair of Nike Vapors to resemble the American flag, and added the words "Never Forget" and "9/11" to the back of each cleat. 

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Several NFL players have talked about playing on 9/11 -- including NY Jets center Nick Mangold -- who previously said, "It is truly an honor to open the season at home, at MetLife Stadium, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11."

"I know that will be an emotional time for everyone, as it was (on the 10th anniversary) in 2011."

'Making a Murderer' Brendan Dassey Ordered Released from Prison

8/12/2016 1:26 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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2:08 PM PST -- We spoke with the Wisconsin Attorney General's office who says they haven't made a decision whether to refile charges.

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Brendan Dassey -- the man who was convicted for helping Steven Avery in a murder chronicled on "Making a Murderer" -- has been ordered to be released.

A federal judge just ruled Dassey's constitutional rights were violated when he was grilled, then tried for the murder of Teresa Halbach.

The judge ruled authorities crossed the line by interrogating the then 16-year-old without an adult present. The judge said authorities exacerbated the problem by assuring Dassey they were on his side.

And the judge said, "Dassey's borderline to below average intellectual ability likely made him more susceptible to coercive pressures than a peer of higher intellect."   

And the judge had problems with the bluffs -- investigators told Dassey at least 24 times they knew exactly what happened to Teresa.  The judge said the false assertions had a "powerful effect" on Dassey -- presumably prompting his confession.

The judge also had problems with Dassey's first lawyer, Len Kachinsky ... who allowed the prosecutor's investigator to grill the client when Kachinsky wasn't present. The judge called Kachinsky's conduct "indefensible." That, however, does not appear to be the basis for the ruling. 

Wisconsin prosecutors have 90 days to decide if they want to retry Dassey. 

Thomas Gibson Fired from 'Criminal Minds'

8/12/2016 10:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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10:55 AM PST -- Thomas tells TMZ, "I love Criminal Minds and have put my heart and soul into it for the last twelve years. I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won't be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have."

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Thomas Gibson won't get his kicks from "Criminal Minds" anymore ... because he was just fired.

Producers put the word out Friday ... he won't return to the show for the 12th season.

TMZ broke the story, the actor was suspended from the show after kicking a writer/co-executive producer in a dispute over a scene that Gibson was directing. And, as we reported, a few years ago he was ordered to anger management classes after striking someone else on the crew.

ABC, which produces the show, and CBS, which airs it, issued a blunt statement: "Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from Criminal Minds. Creative details for how the character's exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date."

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Julian Edelman Pregnant Model Strikes Pose ... In Lingerie!

8/12/2016 6:07 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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0812-ella-rose-gallery-launch-02The model who claims she's pregnant with Julian Edelman's baby just set up a sexy photo shoot ... and damn, 6 months preggo never looked so good!!! 

The woman is Ella Rose -- a Swedish model who recently filed paternity docs naming the New England Patriots wide receiver as the father of her child. The two have had a casual relationship for about 2 years. 

Now, with her bump officially showing, Ella decided to document the pregnancy with a lingerie photo shoot. 

As for Julian, he's currently dating supermodel Adriana Lima ... but we're told he's still on great terms with Ella and she wants him to be in the baby's life. 

Scottie Pippen's Wife Christian Laettner Stiffed Us Bad 'How Do You Sleep At Night?'

8/10/2016 4:41 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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0810_scottie_Larsa-Pippen_Christian-Laettner_getty_twitter_2Scottie Pippen and his wife are FURIOUS at Christian Laettner -- claiming he still hasn't paid them back the hundreds of thousands of dollars he owes them ... and they want to collect, NOW. 

Around 2007, Pippen invested a ton of money with Laettner and his partners to buy a stake in the Memphis Grizzlies ... but when the deal fizzled, he never got his money back.

Pippen sued Laettner and his partners and was awarded a $2.5 million judgment -- but has NOT received the full amount.

Enter Larsa Pippen ... who took the beef public this week -- tweeting at Laettner, "Hey @laettnerbball are you ever gonna pay us back homie?"

"It's crazy you've been f***ing us around forever @laettnerbball. Homie how do u sleep at night."

Sources connected to the case tell us Laettner still owes at least $600,000 to the Pippens. 

Yeah, we'd be pissed too.

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John Saunders Wife Called 911 Found Him Unresponsive

8/10/2016 2:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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0810_john-saunders_GETTYJohn Saunders' wife found the ESPN legend unresponsive and not breathing early Wednesday morning and called 911 ... law enforcement tells TMZ Sports.

Hastings-on-Hudson Police Chief Anthony Visalli tells TMZ Sports ... emergency responders raced to Saunders' New York home around 4 AM -- but were unable to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead at the home. 

We're told a detective was sent to the home -- but found nothing suspicious. Since there were no signs of foul play, the medical examiner rejected the case. 

We're told the exact cause of death is still unknown. 

Saunders was 61. 

Travis Barker Dammit ... Feeling This Finger Grind Off SUCKS!!!

8/10/2016 2:33 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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0810_travis_barker_finger_injury_launchTravis Barker is a badass with sick drumming skills cause not even a blood-spraying finger can hold the man down.

The Blink-182 drummer lost a chunk of his finger after going all hardcore at a gig in Ohio. After the show, Travis posted a pic of the horrifying injury. Check out the pic ... but you've been warned. 

The band's playing a bunch of shows until the tour ends Oct. 7 and we're told he's rockin' on -- with or without his finger.

Someone get the man a first aid kit.

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Team Israel Slams Team Lebanon 'Hostile and Anti-Semitic Behavior'

8/9/2016 10:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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0809-israel-rio-olympics-GETTY-02A rep for the Israeli national team says the actions by the Lebanese delegation to block Team Israel athletes from getting on a bus Friday were driven by "hostility and anti-Semitic behavior."

As we previously reported, both sides acknowledged that Israeli athletes were blocked from boarding an Olympic bus filled with Lebanese athletes headed to the stadium for opening ceremonies. 

Now, Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev tells TMZ Sports ... the incident was sparked by religious hatred. 

"The Olympic games were established thousands of years ago, based on the ethical code of fellowship and collaboration," Regev says. 

"The Lebanese delegation blatantly abandoned this code, and the hostility and anti-Semitic behavior that they exhibited towards the Israeli team is extremely disconcerting and disappointing."

"I congratulate the International Olympic Committee for condemning these vile actions, which do not reflect on the spirit of this international celebration of unity."

FYI, we reached out to the IOC -- and rep only told us they spoke to both sides and consider the matter closed. The IOC never told us they condemned anyone's actions.

We also reached out to the Lebanese delegation for comment -- but have not heard back. 

Kesha Jacket Bandit Fesses Up ... After Singer's Emotional Plea

8/9/2016 11:18 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0809-kesha-stolen-jacket-nudiegirl2-instagram-01Kesha is about to be reunited with her precious tiger jacket after it was stolen out of her dressing room this weekend ... and the culprit has a very fishy explanation. 

The singer went to social media Monday night and begged her fans to help find the jacket -- and said it's so important to her, she'll kiss whoever finds it "on the f***ing mouth."

Well, the social media APB worked -- because sources close to Kesha tell us she was contacted by a person who said they have the jacket and wanted to return it. 

So, how'd they get it?

The person insists they "accidentally" took it from the dressing room ... and didn't mean any harm.

Yeah right.

Bottom line -- we're told Kesha is pumped to get it back and isn't planning on going to the cops.

No word if she still plans on delivering that mouth kiss.

Tim Tebow Mariners Minor League Team Wants Meeting

8/9/2016 9:19 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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The baseball offers seem to be flying in for Tim Tebow ... and now another minor league team says it has real interest in the ex-NFL quarterback. 

We spoke with Mike Candela -- general manager of the Bakersfield Blaze (Seattle Mariners Single-A minor league affiliate) ... who says, "We are definitely interested in Tim Tebow."

"We would love to invite him out to see a game and before that we would set up a meeting for him to speak with the our team and coaches and put him up in a hotel."

Tebow announced he's pursuing a career as a pro baseball player -- and has been working with MLB legend Gary Sheffield

He's already received a contract offer from the Schaumburg Boomers, an independent Frontier League team based in Schaumburg, Illinois. 

And the Cleveland Indians posted a pic of Tebow in their uniform. 

Stay tuned ... 

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Donald Trump Crying Baby's Mom Calls BS on Critics

8/8/2016 5:15 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Donald Trump did not boot a baby out of his rally for crying ... so says the kid's mother, who's defending the candidate and scoffing at reporters who trashed him.

Devan Cierra Ebert says she was halfway out the door with 18-month-old Vinnie when Trump told the VA crowd, "Get that baby out of here!"

Ebert has reached out to Trump's people to make it clear ... she harbors no resentment and actually thinks Trump said what he said in good fun.

She also makes it clear ... no one's paid her off to say this.

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