Kobe Bryant has apparently forgiven Phil Jackson for calling him an insecure, sensitive sub-Jordanesque player in his book ... 'cause the two got together for breakfast this week, TMZ has learned.
We've learned ... Kobe and his former Lakers coach shared a booth at Wendy's Place in El Segundo Thursday morning ... chowing down on eggs and other breakfast-y items.
Kobe and Phil have had a complicated relationship over the years ... which Phil touched upon in his book, "Eleven Rings," which he released back in May.
In the book, Phil wrote that Michael was a better shooter, defender and overall leader than Kobe ... which some people interpreted as a slight against the Mamba.
But at breakfast yesterday, the two seemed as chummy as ever ... talking about basketball while scarfing down their meal.
So, who paid when the bill came??? The guy with the most jewelry.
Side note -- we spoke to someone who was there that day ... and when we asked how Kobe looked, we were told, "Beautiful."
Risks Most Valuable Hand
... To Pet a LION!!!
10/24/2013 4:36 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The fate of the Los Angeles Lakers rests in the hands of Kobe Bryant ... which is why it might be concerning that his hands are near the mouth of A LIVE MAN-EATING LION!!!
Kobe faced down the king of the jungle at an L.A. studio today ... during a commercial shoot for Turkish Airlines. Kobe's a celebrity spokesman for the airline.
Check out the pics above ... that's Kobe sticking his right hand (his shooting hand, mind you) directly up to the lion's mouth.
Fortunately, Kobe emerged without a scratch ... and he's lucky ... 'cause as everyone knows, big cats can be dangerous to humans. Just ask Adam Sandler ...
I'm Wearing My Ring, I'm Healthy, I Could Be a Laker
10/22/2013 12:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Lamar Odom aggressively wanted to talk to a photog yesterday, about life, health, basketball and marriage.
Lamar has NEVER been chatty, so this lunchtime video is pretty shocking. The photog tries to end the interview several times and Lamar actually calls him back. Among the subjects:
-- His prospects of returning to the Lakers
-- His outlook on life and death
-- His obsession with health
You gotta see it. It's as revealing as anything we've seen in a long time.
Gets Trimmed for 'Meeting Wit Lakers'
10/15/2013 5:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Lamar Odom is way beyond first impressions with the Lakers ... but, all the same, he got a fresh shave of his head for a meeting with the team on Monday ... TMZ has learned.
Lamar's barber in the Valley, a dude named Enzo, hooked up the troubled NBA star Monday morning -- and even gave LO his trademark star on the back of his head ... which he sported during past seasons with the Lakers.
Our sources tell us Lamar met with Laker execs Monday afternoon to discuss terms of a possible return. We're told things went well -- though nothing's been signed -- and that Lamar's first choice has always been to return to the Lakers.
It's pretty amazing ... a little more than a month ago Lamar was smoking crack and deep in the throes of drug addiction. But as we first reported, Odom has been adamant he can cut off his drug abuse without going to rehab.
It remains to be seen if an NBA team buys that (and we know Khloe Kardashian isn't) -- but as one source put it ... lately Lamar has sounded more like his old self.
On his Instagram, Lamar's barber wrote, "Wish em the best of luck in his meeting wit the Lakers today."
Maybe Enzo has the purple and gold touch.
Chinese BBall Superior To NBA
'They Let You Play Over There'
10/11/2013 1:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Kobe Bryant has Chinese envy -- at least when it comes to basketball -- claiming the rules in the Far East make it a real man’s game ... because “out here, you can’t even touch a motherf**ker.”
Kobe's diss to the NBA came during a candid moment in Vegas with Floyd Mayweather earlier this week ... when the two began talking about the differences between basketball in China vs. the NBA.
“They let you play over there,” Kobe said … adding, “out here they change the rules up and sh*t. You can’t even touch a motherf**ker. You can’t touch a n***a.”
Kinda strange coming from Kobe ... considering he has a reputation for begging NBA refs for calls.
Calls to China … weren’t made (c'mon, international calls ain't cheap!)
Lakers' Pau Gasol
I Hope Lamar Returns to the NBA
10/2/2013 8:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
L.A. Lakers center, Pau Gasol, is optimistic that Lamar Odom -- his friend and former teammate -- will make a triumphant return to the NBA ... but admits he's still in the dark about what's going on in Lamar's life.
All 7-feet of Pau hit up Katsuya in Hollywood last night ... where he told us he hasn't had any contact with Lamar since he began his crack-fueled downward spiral ... but he still thinks Lamar can come back.
"The main thing is that he's healthy and happy," Gasol told us ... but he also knows what it's gonna take for Lamar -- or any pro-baller -- to be competitive in the NBA.
"In my profession," he said, "if you don't train hard, you get off the train."
High As A Kite
Vows to Play BBall Again
10/1/2013 10:19 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Lamar Odom is drugged out of his head ... but he's telling people he will sober up and play basketball again this coming season ... yes, he's that delusional.
Sources who have been spending time with Lamar tell us his drug problem is out of control -- that one of his drug dealers alone has sold him thousands of dollars in coke. We're told Lamar is now freebasing with pure cocaine.
As crazy as it sounds ... Lamar has done it before. We know he was using while on the Lakers and on the Mavericks. In addition, he was off the rails using drugs just months before joining the Clippers but cleaned up enough to get through the season.
We're told Lamar is full-on paranoid now ... he believes people are trying to set him up to get caught. As he told one friend, "Everyone wants to see me fail, but I'm not gonna let that happen."
I'd Destroy LeBron in 1-on-1
... But Not Kobe
10/1/2013 7:51 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Jordan says there's only one guy who would beat him in a game of 1-on-1 ... and it ain't LeBron James -- it's Kobe Bryant.
MJ made the statement in a video promoting the NBA 2K14 -- while talking about a bunch of NBA legends he would've liked to ball against in their prime, including Jerry West, D-Wade, Carmelo, Kobe, LeBron and more.
"I don't think I would lose," Jordan says ... adding, "other than to Kobe Bryant because he steals all of my moves."
MJ was later asked who was the better player -- Kobe or LBJ -- and explained, "In terms of dominance in the game of basketball at this stage, it's LeBron."
But he added, "Championshipwise, it's Kobe."
Caves on Battle with Ex
Kids Now Living in L.A.
9/4/2013 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
NBA star Steve Nash scored a huge legal victory over his ex-wife -- blocking her from moving their kids to L.A. -- and then promptly agreed, for some strange reason, to let the fam come to Cali after all ... TMZ has learned.
As we first reported, the Los Angeles Lakers point guard has been battling his ex, Alejandra Nash, for months over her desire to move their 3 kids from Phoenix to L.A. -- in part because Steve thinks L.A. is a horrible place to raise kids. He even said so in open court.
Steve also believed Alejandra only wanted to be in L.A. because California laws could result in her getting increased child support payments.
Ultimately, the court agreed -- according to documents the judge ruled Alejandra failed to prove the move was "in the children's best interests" -- and her relocation request was "motivated, at least in part, by issues surrounding child support, which is an inappropriate basis for relocation."
Now this is where it gets weird.
Sources connected with the case , tell us Alejandra and the kids are currently living in L.A.! Further, we're told the children have already enrolled in public school in the South Bay section of L.A.
It's a huge mystery -- Nash fought tooth and nail to stop Alejandra, won the case ... and then upped and forfeited the 'W.'
Calls to Nash's attorney haven't been returned.
Quitting Rap is 'Good Thing'
... Says Lakers Player
9/2/2013 12:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Dear Tony Parker's rap career ...
You were only 6 years old ... but Tony has decided to put you out of your misery.
You were cheesy ... you were part French ... and you were terrible.
You also inspired YouTube comments like, "Tony, what the f*ck is this?" and "Bad bad bad."
Maybe it's a good thing Tony decided to pull the plug ... at least according to L.A. Lakers player Nick Young ... because, as we said before, you were really, really bad.
But we're not too sad, 'cause as long as YouTube exists, you'll never really die.
Au revoir for now ...
R.I.P. Tony Parker's rap career
2007 - 2013
The NBA Drug Trail
8/27/2013 1:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Lamar Odom was deep into drugs while he was playing for the Dallas Mavericks and there is evidence he was doing the exact same thing while playing for the Lakers ... TMZ has learned.
Sources connected to a Westin hotel in Memphis tell TMZ ... in March of 2012, shortly before Lamar was cut from the Mavs, he stayed in one of the guest rooms while his team was in town playing the Grizzlies.
Our sources say when Lamar left, hotel employees found major carpet damage ... including quarter-sized burn marks. The damage was so bad, the hotel had to replace the carpeting in the room.
Our sources say hotel employees also found white powder on the desk blotter and the room reeked of noxious smoke. Our sources say it was obvious there was serious drug use going on in the hotel room.
The Westin is one of numerous hotels where NBA players stay when they're on the road. TMZ has contacted a number of these hotels in various cities. We've learned from several hotel employees ... they had complained about the state of the rooms when Lamar left -- similar to what happened in Memphis -- and this was while he was playing for the Lakers.
Our sources say no one on the Mavs knew Lamar was a substance abuser while he was on the team, but everyone knew something was seriously wrong with him.
We're told that during at least part of the time he was playing for the Mavs, Lamar was smoking Oxycontin and cocaine.
Odom's problems were so severe, he was cut from the Mavs mid-season and paid in full just so he would go away.
TMZ broke the story ... the drug use escalated to crack -- and we're told Lamar's level of crack use is now alarming and life-threatening.
Sorry Jordan ...
Kobe Was Way Harder to Guard
8/22/2013 12:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
At least one NBA star is willing to say it -- Kobe Bryant is a much tougher opponent than his airness, Michael Jordan was ... at least that's what Tracy McGrady hinted. (Pause for lightning bolts)
McGrady was responding to Kobe's recent comment that T-Mac was the hardest player he ever had to guard -- so, we expected him to throw a little praise back at Kobe.
But watch his comments at LAX -- McGrady wasn't just being nice ... and actually went out of his way to say it's "not even close" who his toughest assignment was on the court.
Remember, McGrady checked Jordan during MJ's final championship season in Chicago ... when he was older, but still making opponents look foolish (see Bryon Russell).
So, did Tracy just forget his MJ years -- or does he think Kobe is that good?