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Rob Lowe I'm Not Rob Pelinka! But If I Were ...

4/18/2017 6:26 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

They look pretty identical, but Rob Lowe is finally setting the record straight -- telling TMZ Sports he's NOT new Lakers GM Rob Pelinka ... but he knows what he would do if he was!

The resemblance is uncanny and people in L.A. have been talking about it ever since Pelinka got the job ... so when we saw Lowe in L.A. on Monday, we asked him if they were separated at birth. 

"How do you know I'm NOT the Lakers new GM?"

But Lowe is a big sports guy -- and says he's given real thought about what he would do if he was running the Lake Show ... even knows who he would draft.

Carmelo and La La Anthony Separated

4/17/2017 1:11 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Carmelo and La La Anthony are separated ... TMZ has learned.

Sources close to the couple tell us the actress and NBA superstar are now living separately. La La moved out of the family home last week and has her own place in NYC now.

We're told the couple's had ups and downs in the past, but the current NBA season has been extremely stressful on the marriage for several months. Carmelo's been plagued by trade talks ... with the Knicks looking to move him to another team.

Our sources say the split is still amicable. They were together just this past weekend at their 10-year-old son Kiyan's basketball game.

We're told La La and Carmelo have NO plans to uproot Kiyan from his friends and school in NY.

Problem is ... it seems likely Carmelo will have to leave town, because just last week Knicks President Phil Jackson said it was time for him to go.

Neither is talking divorce yet, just separation. The couple got married in 2010.

Russell Westbrook Mad Love from Gene Simmons ... Over Pre-Game KISS Swag

4/17/2017 10:56 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The KISS shirt that Russell Westbrook rocked to the OKC Thunder vs. Houston Rockets playoff game Sunday night went over REAL WELL with Gene Simmons.

The leader of the KISS army was out in L.A. where he gave all sorts of props for Westbrook's fashion statement ... explaining why Westbrook's fashion choices are part of a bigger, smarter plan.

But make no mistake about it, Gene thinks the real winner last night ... was Gene!

Hey, the guy's been relevant in pop culture for 45 years ... that's no small feat.

J.R. Smith Micro-Preemie Baby Takes First Bottle

4/17/2017 6:07 AM PDT
Breaking News

Big win for J.R. Smith this weekend -- and it happened BEFORE the Cavs' playoff game!

J.R.'s micro-preemie daughter -- born at only 1 pound -- made another huge stride on Friday and had her very first bottle!

As we previously reported, Smith's wife, Jewel, gave birth to Dakota "Kota Bear" Smith in early January almost 5 months before her due date.

Though the odds were stacked against her, Kota is continuing to fight -- and being able to feed from a bottle instead of a feeding tube is a pretty big deal!

J.R. posted about the experience -- "My boo got her first bottle today! #proudofyoubaby #kotastrong."

It's just the latest in a series of impressive feats from the littlest Smith -- her breathing tube was removed last month and she's continuing to gain weight. 

Keep fighting!

Steve Francis Arrest Video NBA Star Cussed Out Cops 'Groupie Motherf**kers'

4/16/2017 12:40 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ex-NBA superstar Steve Francis called police "groupie motherf**kers" during his DWI arrest back in November ... and DARED cops to lock him up after they confiscated his gold chain.

It's all on the arrest video obtained by TMZ Sports ... which begins when Francis is pulled over by Houston PD on Nov. 19 for speeding. Cops quickly suspected he was drunk.

Officers searched the car and found a bottle of Crown Royal and a big bag of weed (almost 22 grams).

40-year-old Francis was placed into a squad car while they searched the rest of his vehicle -- and that's when he noticed officers checking out his massive gold chain.

Francis got PISSED -- and shouted at cops, "Now you playing with fire, homie!"

"Take a picture. Play with that, watch what happens."

He called cops "suckas" and shouted, "Go ahead, lock me up groupie ass motherf**kers."

"Play with my chain, sucka!"

Francis told cops the chain was worth $100 million.

Officers told Francis he was being arrested for drunk driving, weed possession and retaliation. He denied being drunk and insisted he never threatened anyone.

He also asked the cops to drop him off at his grandmother's house.

That didn't happen -- instead, he was taken to the police station.

He later struck a deal with prosecutors in which he pled guilty to 1 count of drunk driving and won't have to spend another minute behind bars.

This isn't the first time Francis has had issues with his chain -- he was famously chain jacked at a Sauce Twinz' rap concert back in 2015. The necklace was later recovered and returned.

Super Producer Mike WiLL Made-It LeBron Got Kendrick's Album Early ... Out Of Respect

4/16/2017 12:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

One of the biggest producers in rap says it's no accident LeBron James got Kendrick Lamar's album early ... telling TMZ Sports he's done the same thing for 'Bron ... out of respect for his hip-hop ear.

We got Mike WilLL Made-It out at LAX -- who produced some tracks on Kendrick's new collection -- and asked him how is it LeBron got his hands on it earlier in the week, when we all had to wait until Friday?

FYI -- we know this is true because LeBron posted a video listening to it ... rubbing it in our faces.

Mike told our guy LeBron is "a real fan of music" and a trusted ear ... that's why Kendrick laced him early, and why Mike did the same thing with his album, "Ransom."

Man, it's soooooo good to be LeBron.

Rudy Gay Welcome To The Squad, Lil Wayne ... But Jay's Still #1 Rapper At Roc Nation

4/16/2017 12:05 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Rudy Gay is taking Jay Z all the way in a lyrical battle of the Carters ... telling TMZ Sports even though Lil Wayne is part of the Roc Nation family now ... Hov is still the best lyricist down with the crew.

Tunechi recently announced he was joining Roc Nation (even though he's still under contract to Birdman) meaning he's now on the same team as Rudy, who's down with Roc Nation Sports.

We got Rudy out in L.A. and asked him if there's a new top rap dawg at the Roc now that Wayne is throwing his diamond up, and Gay does the smart thing ... he goes with the boss.

BTW ... Jay Z's real last name is Carter, so is Wayne's. That's why it's a battle of Carters. Get your hip-hop knowledge up.

Gilbert Arenas Says Dark Skinned Black Women Aren't Pretty ... Sorta Apologizes

4/14/2017 11:47 AM PDT
Breaking News

Gilbert Arenas says he didn't mean to say darker skinned black women aren't beautiful (although that's exactly what he said) and is apologizing for his insulting remarks ... sorta.

This started when Gilbert commented on a meme encouraging women with more African features (darker complected) to be proud of their beauty, saying he didn't think they had much of it at all.

"How black we talking?? Not to be funny can you name a beautiful black woman on the outside ... not brown skin ... like Tyrese black."

He was immediately dragged for his dumbass statement on social media ... and kinda walked it back ... but not entirely, and not without dissing another darker black woman ... Lupita Nyong'o.

"I thought I was saying if you're mixed you're not considered black and beautiful and my kids are dark skinned so I perceived it how I wanted to. I was trying to defend all shades of black but that's what the post was also doing."

"As for Lupita she ain't cute to me sorry ... just like I'm not cute to 95% of you."

Classy as always.

[h/t Baller Alert

Khloe Kardashian Personal Security Detail ... at Cavs Game

4/14/2017 9:12 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Khloe Kardashian's safety is clearly a high priority at Quicken Loans Arena -- because there was a personal security detail assigned to her on Wednesday when the Cavs played the Raptors. 

The reality star was in the crowd to support her boyfriend, Tristan Thompson -- but when it came time to leave, she had an arena security officer escorting her out -- and another officer keeping fans at bay. 

We're told when nature called, a female security officer even escorted Khloe into the VIP restroom. 

Khloe is becoming a fan favorite in Cleveland -- one witness tells us she took a bunch of pics with fans ... you can see her stop to pose with one very excited lady in our video.

Plus, she's also becoming friends with Cleveland Browns star Joe Haden and his wife. They not only socialized during the game, Khloe (along with her sisters, Kim and Kourtney) hit up a local amusement park with the Hadens the night before. 

NBA's Joel Embiid Rookie of the Year? I Like My Chances!

4/14/2017 6:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Joel Embiid seems pretty confident he'll lock up NBA Rookie of the Year -- telling TMZ Sports he's got a pretty good shot of taking the award over guys like Dario Saric and Malcolm Brogdon.

Of course, Embiid had a stellar first 31 games, before an injury ended his season. But the way Saric and Malcolm played this season ... it might be close. 

But on the way out of Catch in L.A., the Philadelphia 76ers star told us straight-up, "I have a pretty good chance of getting it."

He also made his pick for NBA MVP (not LeBron) and shouted out a pretty lady (not Rihanna). 

Rudy Gay I'm Way Ahead of Schedule ... In Achilles Recovery

4/13/2017 6:26 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Great news for Sacramento Kings star Rudy Gay -- his recovery from a torn Achilles injury is going GREAT ... with Gay telling us he's 1 MONTH ahead of schedule!

As we previously reported, Rudy ruptured his tendon in a game against the Pacers on January 18 and underwent surgery a few days later. 

Obviously, the Kings' season is over and Gay won't be in the NBA playoffs -- HOWEVER, he could choose to become a free agent on July 1st and sign a fat new longterm contract with another team. 

So, when Gay says he's feeling great and should start running soon -- he's really probably talking to other teams ... letting everyone know he'll be healthy and worth every penny!!!

Gay is one of the best scorers in the league when healthy (19 points a game) ... hope the Lakers are paying attention!

LeBron James Opening School For At-Risk Kids ... In Hometown Akron

4/12/2017 6:21 AM PDT
Breaking News

LeBron James is continuing to give back to his hometown in a HUGE way ... this time, he's opening his own public school for at-risk kids in Akron.

LBJ and his Family Foundation announced the plans to open the I Promise School ... with the goal to open its doors to 3rd and 4th graders in the Fall of 2018, and expand to 1st - 8th graders by 2022.

The project will focus on youth in similar situations the Cavs superstar experienced growing up.

"This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most -- those that could fall through the cracks if we don't do something," LeBron says.

This isn't LBJ's first venture into the educational system ... he partnered with the University of Akron to provide full scholarships to any student who graduates his I Promise program.

Khloe Kardashian Hell Yeah I'd Marry Tristan!!! ... No Pressure

4/11/2017 4:01 PM PDT
Breaking News

Khloe Kardashian says she's DEFINITELY down to marry Tristan Thompson ... even though he hasn't exactly proposed yet.

"I would love to have a family," Khloe told ES Magazine when asked about her relationship with the NBA star ... "We've talked about it."

When asked point-blank if she would accept a marriage proposal, Khloe responded, "Yes, I would."

There's more ... in the interview, which appears in the April 12 edition of the mag, Khloe was also asked about starting a family with Thompson.

"He [already] is a father, and I know for a fact that he would be an impeccable father. I definitely want to be a mom. But I don’t put the pressure on it. It’s not like, 'the clock is ticking.'"

Tristan has a 4-month-old son with another woman -- but clearly, that doesn't appear to be an issue for KK.