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NBA's Iman Shumpert

I Don't Hate 'Empire'

They're NOT Copying My Life

3/12/2015 4:23 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0312-iman-shumpert-teyana-getty-02NBA star Iman Shumpert tells TMZ Sports ... he does NOT hate the show "Empire" -- and does not believe producers ripped off his life for a story line ... despite reports to the contrary. 

Earlier today, it was reported that Shumpert was calling out "Empire" -- claiming two of the characters were direct rip-offs of himself and his GF girlfriend Teyana Taylor ... and even sported similar hairstyles. 


But Shumpert says the whole thing has been blown out of proportion ... saying, "The 'Empire' story pertaining to myself and my girlfriend Teyana has gotten out of hand."

"Fans of the show and friends have told us on many occasions that couple favors us but we do not at all feel that our lives are being copied/stolen."

Shumpert continues, "I apologize to the actors on the show because they're just being professionals and don't deserve slander that's not what I was trying to portray and I have to be more careful with my choice of words."

"I do not appreciate the writer using his questions with my answers to draw quotes like I was making these elaborate answers but that's the media. The writer took a 2-3 min convo of locker room talk after a GREAT TEAM WIN and made it look like a sit down interview and it wasn't."

"He twisted words to get the point that he wanted to get across. This is not that serious and though we don't watch the show we are not against it."

NBA's Jayson Williams

We Bet On 'TMZ' In Prison

3/12/2015 12:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Prison's not just for license plate making and shower rape ... it's also for GAMBLING ... so says ex-NBA star (and ex-con) Jayson Williams ... who says inmates LOVE to bet on the TMZ show. 

Williams knows a little something about doing time -- he spent eighteen months in a New Jersey prison before spending eight months at Rikers Island stemming from a DWI arrest. 

So, how did the former New Jersey Nets superstar pass the time in the big house? 

JW says he and his fellow prisoners would bet on the time stamp that shows up on screen at the beginning of "TMZ on TV" which shows the exact time Harvey Levin starts the morning meeting (see below). 

But get this ... Williams says he found a way to beat the odds -- connecting with his snitches on the outside who had already seen the show.

Hey, when gambling with crooks ... anything goes. 


Christian Laettner

People Wouldn't Hate Me

...If They Knew Me

3/10/2015 12:31 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

TMZ Photog: "How can we make people love you?"
Christian Laettner: "I don't know if that's possible."

Kinda sad, right?

Well, it's not all pessimistic ... because when we ran into the former Duke star on the streets of NYC this morning we were trying to figure out why so many people hate the guy. 

In fact, the disdain for Laettner is the topic of an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 titled, "I Hate Christian Laettner." 

So, how can C.L. convince people he's really not that bad of a guy?? He has some ideas. 

Check out the clip. 

Kenny Smith's Daughter

I Love Shaq ...

But No Duets, Please

3/9/2015 4:26 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Ex-NBA star Kenny Smith taught his daughter well ... because she busted on Shaquille O'Neal's rap skills like she was one of the boys -- telling us she will NEVER duet with the Diesel.

Kayla Brianna was on TMZ Hollywood Sports ... telling us all about her rising R&B career, when she mentioned she's open to sharing the stage with her dad's "Inside The NBA" co-host -- but only if he's DJing.

Kayla proved she can talk smack with the best of 'em when we asked if she might have Shaq rap on one of her tracks, telling us ... "No! Who's going to buy that new Shaq album?"

Papa would be proud.

Check out "TMZ Hollywood Sports" weekdays at 6PM ET, 3PM PT on Reelz.

Glen 'Big Baby' Davis


(But Meet MY New Model GF)

3/9/2015 6:11 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Some bad news/good news for L.A. Clippers star Glen "Big Baby" Davis

The Bad News -- His marriage to his longtime sweetheart and baby mama Jenna Gomez is officially over. 

The Good News -- He's got a brand new girlfriend ... and she's a model!!! 

Davis and his new flame Jasmin Jaye his up Mastro's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills last night where they were on a mission to shoot down rumors that they were dating behind Glen's wife's back. 

"I am divorced," Davis said. Davis and Gomez married on December 31st, 2013. 

Glen also explained where he and Jasmin met and what first attracted him to her ... and it was all because "she had a big, ol ..." 

We'll let him complete the sentence. 

Kenny Smith's Daughter

R&B Career Exploding

In Talks with Rich Gang

3/9/2015 12:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0306-kayla-brianna-birdman-INSTAGRAM-01Kenny "The Jet" Smith's daughter Kayla Brianna is blowin' up in the hip-hop world ... 'cause TMZ Sports has learned the 21-year-old singer is in talks to sign with Birdman's Rich Gang label. 

The "Inside the NBA" star has been RAVING about Kayla's singing talents for years -- and all sorts of big stars have taken notice, including Meek Mill who featured her on his track "I Got That."

Now, we've learned ... Kayla has been talking with Birdman for the past couple of months -- and sources connected to both sides tell us they're close on a deal. 

We reached out to Kayla about the situation -- and while she wouldn't get into details, she said her father is just as pumped as she is. 

"He tries to give me advice, but I tell him ... 'You stick to basketball, I got this!'" 

Daniel Gibson

I'm An Ex-NBA Poet

... I Bet You Didn't Know It

3/7/2015 12:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Ex-NBA player Daniel "Booby" Gibson is trading claps for snaps ... telling TMZ Sports he might never return to the NBA because he's got a burning love for poetry.

Gibson was out in L.A. recently when we asked the 29-year-old former Cavs player if he was planning on joining another squad in the future and reigniting his hoop dreams.

Check out the clip -- it's clear Booby's mind is way more Walt Whitman than Walt Frazier right now 'cause the guy seems to be all about the written word.

Hey ... the guy made over $22 million in his career, he can hit a couple open mics if he wants.

Metta World Peace

Don't Give Up On Kobe ...

He'll Get Ring Next Season!

3/6/2015 10:28 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Kobe Bryant has ONE more championship run left in him ... and will probably get his SIXTH ring next season ... so says Mamba's former teammate Metta World Peace

But before we get to that ... you gotta watch this clip of Metta buyin' a rose from the rose lady out in Hollywood last night. 

Who's he buying it for? Metta says he wants to surprise someone ... wait'll you see who it is.

As for Kobe, Metta's clearly convinced he can still be dominant ... are you? 

Steve Francis

Chain Recovery Engineered By Rap God

3/6/2015 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0305_j_prince_steve_francis_gettySteve Francis doesn't just have the Sauce Twinz to thank for the return of his chain -- it was ultimately engineered by J. Prince ... one of the most powerful men in hip hop, TMZ Sports has learned. 

We broke the story ... the NBA legend was chain snatched by some dumbass at a Sauce Twinz concert in Houston last weekend. 

Now, we've learned ... Francis has some powerful friends in Houston -- including Prince, who not only runs Rap-A-Lot Records, but is known in the rap community as a guy you just don't mess with. 

Also, the Sauce Twinz are managed by YEMG ... the management group owned by Prince's son, Jas

Sources connected to Prince tell us once he learned the chain went missing ... he put out word, "The chain must be returned."

That's when the Twinz and their pals went into "super recovery mode" to track down the culprit. 

And surprise surprise, the chain turned up a short time later ... and will be reunited with Francis. 

BTW -- you may remember J. Prince as the guy who issued a "courtesy call" to all of Drake's enemies including Diddy and Suge Knight ... warning them to back off Drizzy, another Prince associate. 

Bottom line -- it's good to know J. Prince. 


Sauce Twinz

We Got Steve Francis' Chain Back!

3/4/2015 4:03 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Great news for Steve Francis ... his chain has been recovered -- this according to the Sauce Twinz, who tell TMZ Sports they're planning on giving it back to the NBA star in the next few hours. 

We broke the story ... Francis was at a Sauce Twinz show in Houston when someone NOT AFFILIATED with the rap duo ran up on Steve and snatched the gold chain off his neck.

Now, the group's manager, Sauce Diddy, confirms the chain is currently with Big Sosa -- one of his artists who made a video (above) to prove he successfully recovered the necklace. 

So, how'd Diddy get the chain? He won't get into specifics ... but police were definitely not involved. 

Diddy says he's already been in contact with Steve's camp -- and plans to return the jewelry to its rightful owner by the end of the day. 

Steve Francis

'The Chain Is In Our Possession'

3/4/2015 11:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0304_steve_francis_chain_3_wmSteve Francis is adamant that his gold chain is NOT missing in action -- with his rep telling TMZ Sports, "It's in our possession in Houston."

We broke the story ... some thief tried to rip the chain off the NBA star's neck during a rap show in Houston this past weekend.  

Now, Steve's publicist Dre Johnson tells us ... "The situation is being resolved as we speak and we will provide physical verification that we have the chain in our possession upon our return to Houston later this week."

Johnson says Francis and his business team have been traveling ever since the incident -- "We had to fly to Boston yesterday to do a deal with Reebok to re-release the classic Steve Francis shoes."

Johnson says the chain-jacker clearly didn't know who he was messin' with -- "When you touch somebody you don't know who you touching. You got to be more careful out here. These young guys don't think, they react and then apologize and backtrack quickly."

As for the fate of the person who yanked the chain, Johnson says Steve will appear on "TMZ Hollywood Sports" in the next few days to explain everything. 

Stay tuned ... 

Tom Hanks


At Crappy Knicks Game

3/4/2015 6:49 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0304_kevin_Bacon_tom_hanks_knicks_game_launchTom Hanks reunited with TWO of his former big screen co-stars Tuesday night ... Kevin Bacon and Ed Burns ... and it was the most exciting thing that's happened at a Knicks game in months. 

The actors all chilled out courtside as the last place Knicks took on the almost-last place Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden. 

Of course, Hanks starred in "Saving Private Ryan" with Burns ... and shared the screen with Kevin Bacon in "Apollo 13." 

Also in attendance ... the Beastie Boys rapper Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock). 

The Knicks lost (duh) 124-86 ... which begs the question -- don't these stars have anything better to do???

Steve Francis

Rappers Vow to Get Chain Back

... From 'Stupid Ass' Thief

3/3/2015 11:14 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0303-stevie-launch-07Steve Francis can rest easy about his missing chain -- 'cause the rappers who were performing on the night he got jacked tell TMZ Sports they're on MISSION to get the necklace back to the NBA star. 

We broke the story ... Francis was on the stage at a Sauce Twinz concert in Houston this weekend when some guy snatched the chain right off his neck

Now Sauce Diddy -- who manages the Sauce Twinz (and was wearing the red backpack at the concert) -- tells us the guys feel terrible that it happened at their show ... and want to do everything in their power to make it right. 

"Steve is good people," Sauce Diddy tells us ... "He's going to get his chain back. I'm going to make sure of it. One way or another."

Diddy is adamant the crook is NOT affiliated with the Sauce Twinz -- he's just a "random stupid ass" -- but says Steve didn't exactly do the best job of protecting himself that night. 

"He must have been drunk. He was mumbling on the mic and bumping into people. At one point, one of my artists tried to get Steve to leave the stage."

When asked if cops were involved in the chain-hunt, Sauce Diddy told us ... "Nobody's calling the police. We're gonna find it. We're gonna get it back."

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