It's not just the Lakers who will take a hit with Kobe Bryant out the rest of the season -- local L.A. restaurants are also concerned ... telling TMZ Sports business is significantly slower when the Mamba isn't on the court.
FYI -- Staples Center is located right next to L.A. Live ... a major entertainment center packed with restaurants often trafficked by people before and after events at the arena.
But with Kobe going down with a torn rotator cuff, several restaurant staffers tell us everyone is going to suffer.
We spoke with Mike Zislis -- owner of Rock ‘N Fish at L.A. Live -- who tells us, "We feel like we’re gonna lose at least 10 percent of our sales per home game."
"Last year when Kobe was out we calculated we lost $250k in revenue," Zislis says, noting that Kobe only played in 2 home games during the '13-'14 season.
"Lakers fans generally spend more than Kings or Clippers fans so when they suck and Kobe isn’t there to draw fans, it hurts."
We also spoke with staffers at Katsuya at L.A. Live who echoed Mike's statements. One staffer told us, "When Kobe is out, the restaurant is empty and business is slow. It sucks for the staff because less people equals less tips."
Of course, there's one simple solution to the problem -- the Lakers could go on a winning streak and bring the fans back to the arena.
No pressure Swaggy P.
NBA PAL MAKES ALL-STAR TEAM
Thanks to Pop Star's Support
1/23/2015 6:03 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Maybe he really IS the most powerful man in the NBA ... because Justin Bieber's pal Kyle Lowry has been voted to be a starter in the NBA All-Star game ... and it seems Bieb's support put him over the top.
As we previously reported, Lowry was 3rd in All-Star voting for the Eastern Conference backcourt position behind Dwyane Wade and John Wall ... that is, until Bieber tweeted to his 60 MILLION followers to vote for the Toronto Raptors star.
Well, Bieber's plan worked ... with Lowry surging ahead in the voting at the last minute to secure a starting spot ... beating out Wade by 15,000 votes.
Spurs Star Danny Green
To Wear Stuart Scott Shoes
1/22/2015 3:39 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
San Antonio Spurs star Danny Green has been given the green light to rock a special pair of sneakers dedicated to Stuart Scott for TONIGHT'S GAME ... the NBA tells TMZ Sports.
Green had approached custom shoe designer Jake Danklefs and ordered up a special pair to pay tribute to his fellow North Carolina Tar Heel ... and was only waiting tor permission from the league.
Well, we spoke with Tim Frank -- Senior V.P. of Communications for the NBA -- and asked if everything was a go for tonight and here's what Tim said:
"He is ... Danny was asked and given permission to wear them for one game. Unlike some reports you might have read, he was never told 'no.'"
It's a great night for Green -- since the Spurs vs. Bulls game will be nationally broadcast on TNT.
I Won't Buy the ATL Hawks ...
NBA Owners Are Powerless
1/22/2015 6:32 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Seems T.I. has taken himself out of the running to buy the Atlanta Hawks -- telling us NBA owners have no real power and the whole thing seems like a waste of money.
T.I. was leaving Ricardo Steakhouse in NYC Wednesday night -- when he told us he's "excited" about how well the Hawks are doing this season ... but says he's flat out "not interested" in ownership.
"The thing about me owning a NBA franchise ... you never get bigger than the NBA," T.I. says.
"So, whatever it is that you do, it'll be controlled by a bunch of people who probably have more money than you. And who have been involved with the organization for longer than you. So you won't be able to do a lot of the things that you want to do. So, I'm not interested."
FYI -- according to Forbes, the Hawks are worth roughly $825 million ... and the price is probably going up -- considering the Hawks are ON FIRE ... winning their 14th game in a row Wednesday.
OUT-THUNDERSTORMS NFL STAR
... At L.A. Strip Club
1/21/2015 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
One made it THUNDERSTORM ... the other made it drizzle.
TMZ Sports has learned ... L.A. Clippers star Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Tampa Bay Bucs star Dashon Goldson were two of the stars that hit up the grand opening of Ace of Diamonds in L.A. on Monday.
For the record, Goldson signed a $41.2 million contract in 2013. Davis has made about $26 million in his NBA career.
Which is why it was a bit shocking when Big Baby created his own indoor monsoon that dwarfed Goldson's mini-downpour.
Our strip club sources tell us Davis was throwin' so much cash around, 4 dancers left with $3k each ... and that doesn't include the $5k he dropped around the stage.
Check out the pic below which shows one dancer's take from Davis.
As for Goldson, as one strip club source put it -- "He made it sprinkle."
No one said being fiscally responsible was fun.
Campaigning for NBA Player
to Make All-Star Team
1/19/2015 12:27 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Justin Bieber is hoping his 60 MILLION twitter followers can make a dent in NBA All-Star voting ... and he's putting his weight behind a guy who plays in Canada.
Bieber is pushing for Kyle Lowry -- a point guard for the Toronto Raptors who's having a pretty good season ... and is currently 3rd in the All-Star voting behind John Wall and Dwyane Wade.
The Canadian pop star tweeted, "Toronto has been killin it and @Klow7 deserves to be an nba all star. Make sure to vote for him. #WeTheNorth. Good luck buddy."
The All-Star game "starters" are chosen based on fan voting -- so if Bieber can mobilize his army, there's a good chance Lowry can leapfrog the other two guys in the Eastern Conference backcourt.
Stay tuned ...
Back On Probation
For Illegal Fireworks Bust
1/19/2015 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Gilbert Arenas is back on probation ... stemming from an illegal fireworks bust from 2013 ... TMZ Sports has learned.
The former NBA superstar -- who was famously involved in a NBA locker room gun showdown back in 2010 -- was arrested in L.A. with 100 POUNDS of illegal explosives in June 2013.
The timing couldn't have been better for Arenas ... who had completed probation from the gun incident roughly one year before the fireworks arrest. Talk about a close call.
As for the fireworks bust ... Arenas was charged with misdemeanor fireworks possession and was facing jail time -- but ultimately cut a deal with prosecutors to get probation instead.
According to official docs obtained by TMZ Sports, Arenas pled no contest ... and in exchange was hit with $41,240 in fines, penalties and other fees. Plus, he was ordered to complete 10 days of community service pertaining to "fire prevention."
Court docs show Arenas paid the fines and completed the community service -- and will remain on probation until January 2016.
Translation -- probably best to leave the fireworks to the pros this year.
Johnny Gill To Kareem Rush
Your Singing Needs Work
... But There's Hope
1/18/2015 12:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
R&B legend Johnny Gill has some good news and bad news for ex-Lakers player Kareem Rush and his dream of being the next big thing in music.
The Good News? He doesn't suck.
The Bad News? He needs a whole lotta work.
As we previously reported, Rush is attempting to score in the studio these days -- dropping a new pop-R&B album later this month.
The former NBA baller even made an appearance on "TMZ Hollywood Sports" earlier this week and gave the whole crew a sample of the goods -- busting out an a capella version of Sam Smith's "Stay With Me."
So when we ran into Johnny out in Hollywood this week ... our camera guy decided to play a little "TMZ Sports Idol" with the multi-platinum artist to see how he really feels about Kareem's pipes.
Check out the clip -- ever hear the phrase "brutally honest?"
I'm Not Buying the Brooklyn Nets
1/16/2015 8:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Donald Trump is taking himself out of the running to buy the Brooklyn Nets ... telling TMZ Sports he won't even consider making a bid for the NBA team now that they're up for sale.
Of course, Trump flirted with the idea of buying the Buffalo Bills last year ... and it seemed like the guy was pretty serious about adding a major professional sports team to his portfolio.
But last night, after having dinner with L.A. Clippers President Doc Rivers, Trump told us Mikhail Prokhorov will have to find another rich person to take the squad off his hands.
Clippers' Doc Rivers
My Son Won't Get Special Treatment
Now That He's On My Team
1/16/2015 6:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
L.A. Clippers President Doc Rivers says the NBA ain't Little League ... telling TMZ Sports his son Austin Rivers won't be treated ANY DIFFERENTLY now that he'll be joining his team.
FYI -- The Clippers acquired the 22-year-old in a 3-team trade that went through on Thursday.
Hours after the deal, we saw Doc leaving a power dinner with Donald Trump at Boa Steakhouse in West Hollywood and asked him if he was worried that the players thinking Austin will get special treatment because of their relationship.
Rivers is adamant he'll treat Austin just the same as everyone else -- not easier, not harder.
A father has never coached a son in the NBA before -- so the minute Austin takes the court, he'll be making history.
Pretty cool, right?
Gettin' Some Dome Work
... In Beverly Hills
1/15/2015 6:24 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The royal cranium has been pampered, Your Highness.
LeBron James has landed in L.A. to take on the Lakers Thursday night -- but before the game, The King found a few minutes for some "me time" in Beverly Hills.
James and his posse stopped in to Bella Nails -- where a team of beauticians rubbed down his head and gargantuan feet.
LeBron LOOOVVEESS this particular nail salon -- and brought a bunch of his old teammates with him last year back when he was with the Miami Heat.
Byron Scott Divorce
Wife Demands Baller Lifestyle
I Can't Live Without My Gucci!
1/15/2015 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
She lived the Gucci lifestyle before the divorce ... and now Byron Scott's wife is demanding the Gucci lifestyle AFTER the split too -- telling a judge the Lakers coach needs to pay up so she can continue to live like a BOSS!
We broke the story ... Byron filed for divorce from his college sweetheart Anita Scott last year after 29 years of marriage -- right before he signed a $17 million contract with the Lakers.
But Anita says they were living large way before the Lakers gig -- and in new court docs obtained by TMZ Sports, she spells out why Scott needs to open up his checkbook.
Here's a sample of the life Anita says she was accustomed to during her marriage to Byron:
-- Anita says the couple lived in several insane cribs over the years (8 bedroom pad in NJ, 7 bedroom house in New Orleans, swanky 4 bedroom penthouse in Cleveland).
BALLER SHOPPING SPREES
-- Anita says she "regularly" bought clothes from Chanel, Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton ... with no specific dollar limit.
-- Anita says she dropped at least $600 every six weeks for hair upkeep ... and $500-per-month on manis, pedis and massages. Plus another $400-per-month on facials and "other personal maintenance."
-- The Bahamas. Once a year. First class airfare. Suites at top-rated resorts. Oh, and they'd often pay for additional family members to join along.
Anita says she needs spousal support asap, since she doesn't have a job and is living in a cramped 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom condo in Culver City which is "not comparable to the lavish and spacious homes we purchased during the marriage."
Quadruple Rabbi Blessing
... Before Beating Lakers
1/15/2015 12:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Look closely at the photo above ... one of these guys is a professional NBA player.
The other 4 dudes are rabbis ... who have a stellar reputation for blessing athletes before big games.
Which could be why Dwyane Wade made a kosher pit stop before the Miami Heat took on the Lakers in L.A. on Tuesday.
TMZ Sports has learned ... the Heat used the facilities at the JEM Community Center in Beverly Hills to warm up hours before their game. And before they left, Wade met up with Rabbi Hertzel Illulian ... who offered up a "quadruple rabbi blessing" before the game.
Turns out ... the Jews came through -- with the Heat beating the Lakers 78-75.
The win brings the rabbis to 2-0 when it comes to blessing NBA players -- after bestowing a "triple rabbi blessing" on Kevin Durant last year before he went on to beat the Clippers in the playoffs.