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'Black Panther' Actor Got a Grand a Day To Play Young Killmonger

3/18/2018 1:00 AM PDT

"Black Panther" is a smashing success and producers probably always knew it would be ... because they paid good money to a kid hardly even in the movie.

10-year-old Seth Carr -- who plays the child version of Michael B. Jordan's character Killmonger in the movie -- got paid $1,000 a day on set ... according to his contract obtained by TMZ.

It is unclear how many days young Seth worked on the film, but his guaranteed paycheck was at least $7,654 ... plus any future residuals.

Not bad at all for the few minutes of screen time.

Along with Young Killmonger, Carr is known for his roles on the shows "Bosch" and "Knight Squad" ... and also played Young Holt on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." 

Shareef O'Neal I'm Cool with The NBA Age Limit ... But Hey, Some Kids Need Money!

3/18/2018 12:55 AM PDT

Here's high school basketball phenom Shareef O'Neal going deep on one of the hottest topics in basketball -- the NBA age limit (19) ... which screws some players and helps others. 

'Reef gets that not everyone grew up with Shaq money and some players need to get those life-changing checks ASAP, instead of spending a year playing for free. 

"They might just do that to feed their families," Shareef told TMZ Sports. "I think that's why a lot of kids go 1-and-done."

But he also thinks NCAA basketball is the best way to prepare players for the pros -- and he points to the current NBA rookie class ... guys like Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum -- who are holding their own with the best in the world. 

Recently, there's been a lot of talk about finding alternatives to the NCAA -- even LaVar Ball's trying to get in on the action -- but 'Reef argues that 1 year of college education is better than none.

"I think they should just leave it how it is ... college gets kids ready for the NBA," O'Neal said.

FYI, Shareef previously told us he would be 1-and-done too despite being comfortable financially ... but now, it seems like he ain't so sure.

No doubt UCLA's pumped either way -- after losing BOTH Ball bros.

Tommy Lee Battery Case Against Son Headed to D.A.'s Office

3/18/2018 12:50 AM PDT

Tommy Lee's reached the point of no return -- even if he changes his mind about wanting his son, Brandon Lee, prosecuted for battery ... the case is headed to the D.A.'s office.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. is on the verge of wrapping up its investigation into the incident where Brandon punched his dad during an argument. Tommy claims he got sucker-punched, but Brandon says it was self-defense.  

We're told Brandon's been cooperating throughout the investigation. Once the Sheriff kicks the case to the D.A.'s office, Brandon will find out what, if any, charges he's facing.

TMZ broke the story ... Tommy wants to go forward with a criminal complaint, and even got a restraining order against his son. Tommy's fiancee, Brittany Furlancalled 911 after the punch and said Brandon knocked Tommy unconscious.

Pamela Anderson claims Tommy's heavy boozing is to blame for the altercation ... but he says Brandon's just ungrateful.

NBA's Chase Budinger Gunnin' for Olympic Gold Medal ... But Not in B-Ball!

3/18/2018 12:40 AM PDT

Former NBA stud Chase Budinger says ballin' for Team USA is his ultimate career goal -- even though he's done with pro hoops!

Here's the deal ... last year, 29-year-old Budinger hung it up and moved back to volleyball, the other sport he used to dominate. (Fun fact: he was the #1 men's volleyball player back in high school.)

Chase tells TMZ Sports he and 2-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal are gearin' up for their 1st season as a beach v-ball team ... and he's hoping they can go all the way in the 2020 Games once they crush a couple summers on the sand.

We wouldn't doubt him -- remember, this is the guy who channeled Billy Hoyle and JUMPED OVER DIDDY at the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest!

WWE's Hillbilly Jim I'd Love for Hulk Hogan to Induct Me ... Into WWE Hall of Fame

3/18/2018 12:35 AM PDT

WWE Hall of Fame inductee Hillbilly Jim says he'd be PUMPED if his old mentor, Hulk Hogan, enshrined him into the Hall ... since he owes his career to the Hulkster. 

"When I first came into the business, to get brushed up against the guy that was the most popular wrestler on earth ... it was wonderful what he did for me," Jim told TMZ Sports

Hillbilly was just announced as part of WWE's 2018 HOF class ... and he told us the news was so shocking, it damn near knocked him on his ass.

HBJ says the only thing cooler than joining all his wrestling buds in the Hall would be Hulk himself doing the honors at WrestleMania 34 weekend in April.

Only problem -- the WWE recently restated it won't work with Hulk 'cause of his 2015 N-word fiasco. Hogan, for his part, recently told us they're working toward a resolution.

Stay tuned ... 

'American Idol' Chikezie Eze Estranged Wife Says ... He Beats Me, Keep Him Away From Me!!!

3/18/2018 12:30 AM PDT

Former "American Idol" contestant Chikezie Eze has a history of beating his estranged wife, Linda Iruke ... at least according to her, and now a judge is ordering him to stay away from Linda and their kids.

Linda filed docs, obtained by TMZ, saying she was forced to move to a domestic violence safe house in August "because of all the abuse." She says they've been separated since May 2017.

In the docs, Linda says Chikezie -- who finished 10th in season 7 -- once threatened, "Don't make me turn this car around and beat your ass." She says he also threatened to post nude photos of her on the Internet. 

She claims the last straw came in January when Chikezie allegedly made a verbal threat. She's not specific about what was said, but says based on prior unreported domestic violence, she believes he's capable of carrying out the threat.

Linda requested, and was granted, a restraining order which requires Chikezie to stay at least 100 yards away from Linda, their kids, and her home and work location.

We've reached out to Chikezie ... so far, no word back.

Cavs' Rodney Hood Kevin Love Changed the Game for Us ... We're Humans, Too

3/18/2018 12:25 AM PDT

Kevin Love's getting mad love from one of his teammates for talking openly about a panic attack he experienced earlier this season ... and spreading a positive message about mental health awareness.

"A lot of times people don’t look at us as humans, and we go through stuff all the time as well," Cavs SG Rodney Hood told TMZ Sports outside Craig's in L.A.   

Love, DeMar DeRozan and Wizards SF Kelly Oubre have all opened up about their personal issues in recent weeks -- and Hood says it's huge not only for the NBA brotherhood, but the millions of fans they're reaching.

Rodney told us he expects a lot more players to join the conversation ... and K-Love deserves a ton of credit for helping to start the trend.

True that.

'SIX' Star Kyle Schmid Hit by Burglars

3/18/2018 12:20 AM PDT

Kyle Schmid -- the actor who stars as a Navy SEAL team leader on the show, "SIX" -- got totally JACKED ... not in the way SEALs do, though he's feeling the pain.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Kyle's apartment in the L.A. area was burglarized. We're told Kyle came home and noticed the sliding door to his balcony was open ... leading cops to believe that was the point of entry.

Problem was ... the sliding door didn't trigger an alarm ... which allowed the perp to search the home and get away with around $30k worth of jewelry. We're told several other units in the same complex were hit that night. LAPD's now investigating.

As we've reported -- again and again and again -- the L.A. area has seen a rash of burglaries involving tons of celebs.

So far, no one's been nabbed in Kyle's burglary. 

Angels' Shohei Ohtani Could Change Baseball Forever ... Says David Eckstein

3/18/2018 12:15 AM PDT

Angels star Shohei Ohtani could be leading a baseball revolution -- so says MLB postseason legend David Eckstein

We spoke to the '06 World Series MVP after he paid a visit to Halos spring training ... and he told us Ohtani -- the team's huge offseason signing who can pitch, play outfield and DH -- is the real deal.

But the more interesting takeaway -- Eckstein told us Ohtani's just the beginning of a new wave of super-athletes who can play both ways!!

"If you start looking at more of the lower levels, and especially now going into college, you see that's where the game's going. And he might be the first," Eckstein said.

Eck knows all about trailblazing -- the 5'6'' shortstop paved the way for Jose Altuve and all the other small ballers of today!

Aaron Hernandez Tortured By Gay Secret

3/17/2018 12:50 AM PDT

Aaron Hernandez was gay -- according to several people close to him ... and his private struggle with his sexuality caused him great emotional pain that may have turned him violent. 

It's all part of the Oxygen documentary, "Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" -- which features interviews with Aaron's close friends, ex-girlfriends and members of his legal team. 

Aaron's college girlfriend, Alyssa Anderson, says she first learned Aaron had a relationship with a man while they were attending the University of Florida ... but he denied it at the time. It was only years later that Hernandez cryptically acknowledged her suspicions were true. 

George Leontire -- an openly gay member of Hernandez's defense team -- says he spoke with Hernandez at length about his sexuality and Aaron opened up like never before. 

"This man clearly was gay," Leontire said ... "[He] acknowledged it. Acknowledged the immense pain that it caused him."

Leontire added, "I think that he also came out of a culture that was so negative about gay people that he exhibited some self-hatred."

Hernandez never spoke publicly about being gay. He was engaged to a woman, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and they had a daughter together.

Aaron was convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2013 -- and there are some law enforcement officials who believe Hernandez executed Lloyd because he knew about Hernandez's sexuality.  

Hernandez ultimately killed himself in his prison cell in 2017. 

"Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" airs in 2 parts on Oxygen, Saturday March 17 and Sunday the 18th.

LaDainian Tomlinson Saquon Barkley's The Next L.T. But, Browns Won't Draft Him

3/17/2018 12:45 AM PDT

LaDainian Tomlinson says Saquon Barkley is basically L.T. 2.0 -- but tells TMZ Sports that ain't enough for him to go #1 in the NFL draft.

We asked LaDainian about all the Saquon comparisons people have been making when we got the Chargers legend at LAX ... and he couldn't agree more.

"He’s a little bit bigger than I am -- but they’re awesome comparisons," L.T. said.

"The lateral movement, quickness, the power, he can catch the ball ... all that stuff."

But even with all that talent, L.T. told us there's a good reason the Browns won't take him with the first overall pick ... and he says that's GREAT news for the Giants at #2.

LaDainian also gave Saquon 1 piece of advice for his NFL career -- and we hope he takes it.

Lil Xan Flees Angry Tupac Fans ... Cop Keeps Him Safe

3/17/2018 12:40 AM PDT

Lil Xan's been getting flak from the hip-hop community all week for calling Tupac's music "boring" ... and it seems the criticism's escalated to real-life harassment.

According to a police report -- obtained by TMZ -- the rapper was at a Del Taco in his hometown of Redlands, CA Thursday afternoon when he was surrounded by a group of high school-aged kids who were upset over his comments about Tupac.

There wasn't a physical fight, but the hostile environment was apparently enough to make Lil Xan run to a nearby YMCA ... where an officer picked him up and escorted him to his car safely.

The report says the large crowd was gathered at the Del Taco for a possible girl fight after school ... so the rapper possibly got caught in the middle of the frenzy. We're told no crime was committed against him, though.

Lil Xan was in town for a meet-and-greet Thursday night, but the way he was greeted is in stark contrast to the last time we saw the "Betrayed" rapper ...  when he was flanked by adoring fans in NYC.

Ted Cruz Bet You My Rockets Will Visit Trump ... Unlike the Warriors

3/17/2018 12:35 AM PDT

Ted Cruz says it's awesome his hometown Astros (mostly) said what's up to Trump at the White House ... and he's got faith the Rockets will, too.

We got the Texas Senator after he took in Monday's World Series ceremony in D.C. -- and you can tell he was still PUMPED off his 'Stros winning their first title.

"To win it in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, when so many Houstonians, so many Texans, were hurting -- it just meant an enormous amount," Cruz told TMZ Sports.

It was all pretty touching stuff from Ted ... that is 'til the conversation turned to the defending champion, Warriors -- who staunchly rejected their Oval Office visit.

"I think it is unfortunate that we've seen that happen ... I'm hoping that this is the first of at least two Houston trips to the White House this year."

Guessing he hasn't seen James Harden's hat ...

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