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Kobe Bryant Axed From Film Festival Jury Over '03 Rape Allegation

10/17/2018 8:12 AM PDT
Breaking News

An animated film festival in L.A. just kicked Kobe Bryant off the festival jury over backlash stemming from his 2003 rape case. 

The Lakers legend was set to be part of the jury at the Animation is Film Festival this weekend at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood  ... but event organizers announced Wednesday that ain't happening.

“After discussions with the various stakeholders of Animation Is Film, the decision has been made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury” ... event honcho Eric Beckman says.

Kobe, of course, won an Academy Award for his "Dear Basketball" short ... and seemed to be completely embraced by Hollywood. Kobe says he's even dished out movie-makin' advice to Barack Obama.

But last week, a petition popped up on Change.org demanding Bryant be dropped from the event -- and apparently, that was the thing that pushed festival officials to remove Kobe. 

"This is an urgent time to say NO to toxic and violent behavior against women,” the petition reads ... "Keeping Kobe Bryant on the jury sets a precedent of lenience for sexual criminals and further undermines the visibility and respect that victims of harassment and assault deserve.”

The petition only got 159 signatures -- but clearly, it was enough to make an impact. 

We reached out to Kobe for comment ... so far, no word back.

J.R. Smith Jokes About LeBron 'Can't Get Away from This Motherf**ker!'

10/12/2018 6:45 AM PDT
Breaking News

They might be on different teams -- 2,300 miles away -- but J.R. Smith and LeBron James are still giving each other crap ... and it's pretty funny. 

Smith was walking around East Lansing, Michigan (the Cavs play the Pistons on Friday) when he started joking about how LeBron is following him everywhere. 

"I can't go nowhere and get away from this motherf**ker," Smith said while pointing the camera at a Blaze Pizza sign. 

FYI, James is an investor, franchisee and paid endorser of the pizza company. 

Smith continued to joke ... "Look at this sh*t. Look at this n****. He everywhere. He just keep following me!"

Of course, Smith and James had the awkward moments when J.R. brain farted, and screwed the Cavs at the end of Game 1 of the NBA Finals last year ... but it's clear the two are still friends. 

One more thing ... J.R. was spotted by some fans with cell phones and he DIDN'T steal them and throw them into a construction site!

Sooooo ... progress!

Lonzo Ball Covers BBB Arm Tattoo ... At NBA's Request

10/11/2018 10:49 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Lonzo Ball's famous Big Baller Brand arm tattoo was covered up during his pre-season debut with the Lakers on Wednesday night ... and it's all because the NBA asked him to keep it under wraps. 

Just like J.R. Smith, the NBA reached out to Ball about his tattoo -- and reminded him about a league rule that prohibits players from "displaying any commercial logos or corporate insignia on their body or in their hair."

Smith has the "Supreme" logo on his right leg -- and said the NBA told him he'd be fined for every game it wasn't covered up. 

Since the same rules apply to Ball -- with BBB being an apparel brand -- the Lakers tell us he decided to put tape (it could be a bandage) over the logo while the team played the Golden State Warriors at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. 

Ball could probably afford the fine since he's in the middle of a $13 million contract -- but ultimately decided it just wasn't worth it. 

As for J.R. Smith, he covered his tattoo with a piece of tape when the Cavs played the Pacers in Cleveland earlier this week. 

LeBron James Pissed Rival Spurs Lost Rising Star ... 'F*#% Man!'

10/8/2018 2:33 PM PDT
Breaking News

LeBron James is straight-up PISSED that one of his NBA rivals lost a great player ... dropping an f-bomb when he learned Spurs baller Dejounte Murray was done for the season.

Murray's right knee buckled as he went up for a layup against the Rockets in San Antonio's preseason game Sunday ... and the team announced Monday he suffered a torn ACL.

Bron wasn't the least bit pleased to know one of his Western Conference rivals took that big of a blow, saying, "Man I feared that would be the case when I saw the play! F*#% man!"

In fact, the Lakers superstar made sure the 22-year-old knew he can lean on him if he needs him through the recovery process.

"You know how to reach me and where to find me if needed. Love lil bro!!"

As for Murray ... he was keeping his head up, writing on social media, "I Will Attack This Process Every Single Day And Use This Time To Become Even Sharper In All Aspects."

BTW ... Murray's still dating Jilly Anais ... which has gotta soften the blow at least A LITTLE bit, right??

Yeah, we'd say so.

LeBron James Rocks Kaepernick Shirt To Game ... Here's Why

10/5/2018 7:00 AM PDT
Breaking News

LeBron James clearly wants Colin Kaepernick to know he's got his back ... 

Check out the shirt Bron wore to the Lakers preseason game at Staples Center on Thursday -- featuring the name "Kaepernick" on the upper back -- a pretty huge statement from the most famous athlete on the planet. 

The shirt is made by Nike -- the company that just featured Colin as the face of its "Just Do It" campaign

LeBron also has a deal with Nike and praised the company for having the balls to do business with Kap despite some pretty powerful critics ... including the President of the United States

"I wore a Kaepernick shirt tonight, one, because it's Nike and I'm a Nike guy. And then, two, I support Kap. I've always supported Kap and what he stands for and what he believes in."

It's not the first time LBJ's publicly stepped forward to join Kap's fight ... after Colin received massive blowback for his new Nike deal last month -- Bron stepped up to say he stands "for anybody that believes in a positive attitude and a positive matter."

LeBron also posted pics of the shirt with the caption, "KAEP Drip #MoreThanAnAthlete," on social media late Thursday night.

Athletes like Odell Beckham, Dez Bryant and Todd Gurley all liked the post.

LeBron James Fortifies L.A. Mansion with Firepower ... After Burglary Plot

10/4/2018 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

LeBron James has beefed up security at his L.A. home in a major way -- bringing a team of armed guards to patrol his house after learning he was targeted by a team of burglars. 

As we previously reported ... the LAPD arrested 4 people who had hit more than 24 homes of the rich and famous, including Yasiel Puig, Rihanna, Christina Milian and others. 

Cops say the bad guys had a list of 12 more celebrity targets -- including LeBron, Matt Damon and Viola Davis

We're told LeBron is taking the situation very seriously -- he's got a wife and 3 kids at home -- and is taking every possible measure to protect his family. 

Sources tell us ... Bron has at least 10 armed security personnel at the home -- including off-duty police officers. We're told the NBA's security team is also involved in the security plans. 

L.A. Rams star Robert Woods -- whose home was burglarized -- is also working with the NFL security team to ensure his safety as well. 

Cops say they believe there are more people involved in the burglary crews -- and they're asking the public for leads to track down the additional suspects.  

Matt Barnes Yes, I Faked Ball AT Kobe ... End Of Mystery

10/3/2018 1:31 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

All the Internet detectives can put their magnifying glasses down ... Matt Barnes is ending the debate, telling TMZ Sports he DEFINITELY faked the ball RIGHT AT Kobe Bryant.

And, of course ... Kobe didn't flinch.

The debate over this 8-year-old NBA occurrence started when a Twitter user floated the theory that Kobe's all-time tough guy move wasn't that ... because Matt didn't put the ball directly in his face.

BTW -- If you don't remember the incident we're talking about ... you need NBA league pass ... BADLY.

We talked to Matt -- who was just thrilled to discuss it AGAIN -- and Barnes says he definitely faked the ball at Kobe's face and Mamba kept his cool.

"As far as I know that sh*t went in his face and he didn't flinch. I thought that was a dead story."

See ... 

BTW -- If you want to hear about something IMPORTANT that Matt cares about ... he also talks to us about the medical cannabis initiative he's started with his alma mater, UCLA.

LeBron James Postgame Ride Home?? Get To The Chopper

10/1/2018 6:53 AM PDT
Breaking News

LeBron James did his best Kobe impression Sunday ... in the air ... 'cause dude took a private helicopter home from San Diego after his first-ever Laker game!!

Bron got his first minutes with the LakeShow down in San Diego for L.A.'s preseason opener ... and afterward -- to the chopper he went.

"Felt good back on court tonight," he said as he boarded.

Bron only played 15 minutes but had some good numbers -- 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Most importantly, he looked like he was really meshin' with his teammates (if only for 15 minutes). 

Remember ... Mamba was famous for using his Kobe-copter to get from his home in Orange County to Los Angeles (and back) without having to battle that ridiculous L.A. traffic. 

So, if you also hate traffic as much as Kobe and LeBron -- just get REALLY good at basketball, make ungodly amounts of money ... and you'll never have to drive the 405 again! 

Neil deGrasse Tyson LeBron Can Play Until 38 ... It's Science!!

9/30/2018 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Good news, Lakers fans ... by Neil deGrasse Tyson's very scientific calculations and estimations -- LeBron James has five more years left in the NBA!!

America's favorite astrophysicist was out at LAX -- and with the Association's season tippin' off in just a few weeks -- we had to ask ... how many more games does LBJ have in his 33-year-old body?

That's when Neil broke out his big brain and informed us -- it'll be five more years.

So, what exactly is the science that led him to that number??

Ya gotta hear it ... dude clearly uses ALLLLLLL his brain power to come up with the answer.

Mark Jackson Luke & LeBron Will Get Along Fine ... Walton Is 'Outstanding' Coach

9/28/2018 5:29 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

There's at least one marriage in Hollywood that's gonna go smoothly ... LeBron James & Luke Walton -- so says ex-NBA coach Mark Jackson who thinks Walton is an "outstanding coach" who will mesh with James.

Some Lakers fans are concerned that LeBron -- the league's biggest star -- would be too much for the relatively young Walton, leading to tumult in the locker room.

Not Jackson ... the former NBA head coach and current analyst had all the confidence in the world in Walton when we got him in L.A. -- reassuring our guy Luke has it under wraps.

"Great guy and outstanding coach, he'll be fine."

BTW -- we also asked Jackson if music in the locker room makes any difference in performance of the team ... his answer is pretty awesome and makes perfect sense.

Kobe Bryant Rushes to Car Crash ... Plays Good Samaritan

9/27/2018 11:36 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kobe Bryant sprang into action Thursday after witnessing a car crash in Newport Beach -- helping out one of the drivers after a Tesla got hit outside his local Starbucks.

The retired NBA superstar was driving through the area in his blacked-out Range Rover when he saw a car run a red light and slam into the Tesla. Kobe stopped to make sure the driver was okay. 

A rep for Bryant tells us ... the Tesla driver told Kobe his phone was damaged in the wreck, so the Lakers legend offered to take pics on his cell instead. 

You can see Kobe snapping away in pics obtained by TMZ Sports

The good news ... we're told no one suffered any serious injuries in the crash. Cops responded to check in on the situation but no arrests were made.

Remember, Kobe's buddy Shaquille O'Neal did a similar thing back in April -- hopping out of his ride to tend to a crash he witnessed in L.A. 

See, these guys have more in common than ya thought ... 

LeBron James I Didn't Join Lakers To Be Closer to Hollywood

9/24/2018 12:25 PM PDT
Breaking News

LeBron James says his move to join the Lakers was strictly a basketball decision -- and had NOTHING to do with his budding Hollywood career. 

... so, you believe him? 

King James just spoke with reporters at Lakers Media Day where he was decked out in his full #23 Purple and Gold uniform. 

During the Q&A session with reporters, he was asked if he ultimately picked the Lakers over other (better) teams so he could be closer to Warner Bros Studio ... where he has a major development deal. 

Remember, LeBron has movies coming out -- "Space Jam 2" and a new "House Party" flick -- and is working on other TV shows and a "Shut Up and Dribble" documentary narrated by Jemele Hill.

But, Bron says he's a ballplayer first -- and joined the Lakers because he felt it was the right fit for him on the court ... even though they sucked last season. 

Bron was also asked if he'll be able to juggle all of his off-the-court projects and still be successful with the Lakers ... and the answer was 100% confidence. 

Paul Pierce LeBron Vs. Kyrie Is New Magic Vs. Bird ... The Rivalry Is Back!

9/23/2018 12:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Paul Pierce says the Celtics-Lakers rivalry is officially back on ... with Kyrie Irving playing the Bird/Pierce role -- and LeBron James playing the Magic/Kobe role!!

We got Paul out at LAX this week and, as one of the key players in the historic NBA clash -- he declared to TMZ Sports the two teams can finally have a real tiff again now that Bron's in L.A.

"It's on. It's on," the Celtics legend tells us. "The rivalry is back. For sure. It's official."

Pierce tells us LeBron and Kyrie will fill the leader-of-the-team roles well ... and he seems stoked to see it this season.

By the way ... if you were wondering if Pierce has any inkling to come back to the NBA and be a part of that rivalry one last time -- he says no chance.

"I'm off!" he tells us.

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