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NBA's Thabo Sefolosha NYPD Calls BS On Abuse ... 'Force Was Justified'

6/27/2016 3:43 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0627_thabo-sefolosha_nypd_gettyThe NYPD officers who subdued and arrested NBA star Thabo Sefolosha last year were completely justified in their action, so says the NYPD ... despite Thabo's claim he suffered serious injuries during the incident.

You know the backstory ... the ATL Hawks star got into it with NYPD officers back in April 2015 outside of 1 OAK nightclub ... minutes after a fellow NBA player was stabbed nearby. 

Sefolosha was initially arrested for obstructing justice and disorderly conduct -- but he took the case to trial and was eventually exonerated. 

Thabo claimed the officers used excessive force -- striking him with a baton, forcing him to the ground and handcuffing him. Thabo claims he suffered a broken leg and ligament damage.

Thabo had sued the 5 officers and the City of NY seeking up to $50 million in damages.

Now, the City of NY has responded -- and officials are backing the cops.

In court docs obtained by TMZ Sports, the City states, "Any force was reasonable and justified."

As for the alleged injuries -- the City blames Thabo ... saying, "Any injury alleged to have been sustained resulted from [Sefolosha's] own culpable or negligent conduct or the culpable or negligent conduct of others." 

The City wants the judge to throw out the case. We're guessing that ain't gonna happen. 

Stay tuned ... 

Russell Westbrook I'd Play For Obama ... He'd Be A Great NBA Owner

6/27/2016 1:06 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

President Obama's dream of owning an NBA team just got its first superstar endorsement ... 'cause Russell Westbrook says he'd love to lace 'em up for the top man if he ever scored his team.

Westbrook was out in Beverly Hills when we asked about Obama saying he wants to run an NBA franchise when his lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue runs out.

Question is, would Westbrook ... who's a free agent after next year .... wanna hoop it up for Obama's dream team?

Check out the clip -- Looks like there's a formula to bring Russ to your NBA team ...

Just add Obama.

Spike Lee Knicks Need to Sign Joakim ... Doubtful On KD

6/27/2016 11:14 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Good news for Knicks fans -- Spike Lee seems pretty optimistic about signing Joakim Noah

Bad news for Knicks fans -- He's not too confident about Kevin Durant

The Knicks mega-fan was at LAX when he told us Noah is "doable" -- meaning he's convinced there's a very real chance NY signs the Chicago Bull. 

He's way less confident about landing KD.

Still, Spike says with Derrick Rose and Carmelo on board -- "We're making the playoffs. That's all I can say."

James Harden Destroys Kid At Basketball ... With Awesome Houdini Move

6/27/2016 9:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Beware, children of Earth ... if you dare to get on a basketball court with James Harden you might go viral ... 'cause the Rockets star just totally put a kid in the popcorn machine and it's all on video.

It all went down at Harden's basketball camp where he went 1-on-1 with a kid and probably made the tyke's whole summer.

Check out the clip ... Harden gives him a little shake, a little bake, and a BIG fake ... then finishes the whole thing with a dunk.

Not quite Kevin Durant-level child dominance ... but still ... freakin' awesome.

Denzel Washington I 'Tracked Down' Denzel Valentine ... I Love His Name!

6/27/2016 6:29 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Guys named "Denzel" gotta stick together -- so says Denzel Washington ... who tells TMZ Sports he actually "tracked down" NBA draft pick Denzel Valentine to say what's up. 

Denzel -- the actor -- was at Madeo over the weekend when he explained why it was important for him to meet the former Michigan State star. 

FYI, Valentine -- who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the #14 pick -- was actually named after the "Training Day" star

Moral of the story -- Wanna meet Denzel Washington? Just name your kid after him. It's that easy. 

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NBA's David Lee Dirk Ain't Leaving the Mavs ... He Loves Dallas Too Much

6/24/2016 12:50 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Good news for Mavs fans ... David Lee tells TMZ Sports he doesn't believe Dirk Nowitzki will leave Dallas for greener pastures ... despite the fact Dirk just opted out of his contract. 

Instead of signing his option and returning to make $8.7 mil next season -- Dirk opted out and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. There are rumors he's considering going to the Golden State Warriors

So, when we saw Dirk's Mavs teammate, David Lee, out in L.A. Friday -- we had to ask for his thoughts. 

Lee gives a pretty compelling reason for why he thinks Dirk will be back in Big D next season. 

Seems it's now up to Mark Cuban to produce the check ... stay tuned. 

Von Miller, Draymond Green Rage with Huge Stars ... At L.A. Nightclub

6/24/2016 9:47 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

There was A LOT of money at Playhouse nightclub in L.A. last night -- with some of the biggest stars in the NFL, NBA and music colliding to turn up on a Thursday. 

Von Miller, Ndamukong Suh and Draymond Green rolled into the club ... to party with stars like Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj

Von tried to keep a low profile -- rocking his hoodie on the way in ... but everyone else was pretty friendly ... waving at fans on the way in and out. 

How was your Thursday night? 

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NBA's Thon Maker No Draft Party for Me ... I'm All Business!

6/24/2016 6:57 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

NBA draft pick Thon Maker didn't need a college education to make a highly intelligent move Thursday night -- blowing off all the raging celebratory parties in NYC ... to focus on business! 

Thon was taken with #10 overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks -- but after his name was called, the 19-year-old told TMZ Sports there was no way he was hitting the town ... he was hittin' the hay instead. 

"I'm going to sleep," Maker said ... "I got an early flight, I got practice tomorrow, and a press conference ... I'm going to sleep."

Pretty mature -- this guy really only 19?

Dez Bryant Look Ma, No Injury!! ... Strokes 3s In L.A. Hoops Game

6/23/2016 4:18 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Here's Dez Bryant doing his best Bo Jackson impression ... trying to convince the world he can dominate in 2 sports by taking on some basketball competition in a L.A. pickup game.

Dez hit up L.A. Fitness in Hollywood Thursday ... and hopped on the hoop court with a couple of his homeboys and straight GAVE WORK to the local actors (waiters) in the building.

Sources at the gym tell TMZ Sports Dez's team went on a three game run ... and the All-Pro did his part -- stroking a game-winning 3 from Steph range, which you can see at the end of the clip.

Don't panic, Cowboy fans ... we're told Dez was taking it WAY easy ... just shooting jumpers and not driving into the paint AT ALL.

He also took time to pose for pics and chat with all the fans in the gym ... AFTER he busted their asses of course.

2016 NBA Draft The 1st Round Fashion Statements ... The Good, Bad & Ugly!

6/23/2016 3:17 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0623_nba_drafts_suits_launch3The NBA Draft is one of the biggest fashion stages in the world -- so ya gotta go big or go home! 

A bunch of 1st rounders are already suited up and ready to make a statement -- including Marquese Chriss and Jaylen Brown ... whose custom threads were all designed by Jhoanna Alba and Jill Evans at ALBA Legacy.

Check out the pics.

NBA Draft NY Strip Club Giving Free Booty Party ... To All Draftees

6/23/2016 2:12 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0623-nba-draft-scores-getty-02They say rich guys get everything free ... which apparently includes dat ass ... 'cause a famous NYC strip club is giving all the guys drafted into the NBA Friday an all-expenses paid trip to bootyland.

TMZ Sports talked with Scores NY -- a world-famous strip club -- and they tell us all lapdances, food, and drinks are on them tonight for any guy whose name gets called by Adam Silver.

There is one problem ... the club is 21+ and a lot of players like Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram and Dragan Bender aren't even 20 yet.

Never fear, young pups ... Scores' honchos tell us they're bringing the club to you ... with a TURNT UP STREET PARTY outside of the club featuring dancers, food, and soft drinks for the tykes.

Welcome to the National Booty Association, guys.

Antoine Walker Rookie Spending Advice Worst Investment Is ...

6/23/2016 10:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Ex-NBA superstar Antoine Walker famously blew through his $110 MILLION fortune -- so, with the NBA Draft going down in a few hours ... he dished some $$$ advice to the upcoming rookies. 

Walker lays it out ... from the very FIRST thing the rookies should do with their money -- to warning the players to beware of the costly "fetish" that cost him MILLIONS!  

Walker's been pretty open about his financial situation -- and has said he's embraced the role of "cautionary tale" to help future NBA stars. 

Busta Rhymes PUMPED ABOUT DERRICK ROSE (Not Pumped About Porzingis)

6/23/2016 9:23 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Here's the summary of this video -- Busta Rhymes LOVES Derrick Rose. He LOVES Carmelo Anthony

Porzingis?? Not so much. 

Busta is a huuuuge NY Knicks fan -- and says the combination of D-Rose and 'Melo is a major step in the right direction for his beloved squad. 

But when we brought the other star on the team -- Kristaps Porzingis -- Mr. Rhymes didn't seem too enthused about the Latvian sensation. 

"Carmelo and Derrick Rose ... and I'll vouch for that. I ain't vouching for nothing else."

Check out the clip -- Busta isn't ready to predict a championship yet ... but he loves where the team is headed. 

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