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Atlanta Mayor

LeBron Who?

Hawks Still Gonna Take It!

5/22/2015 8:36 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Give Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed some credit -- even in the face of a dominant LeBron James ... he's picking his beloved Hawks to take out the Cavaliers.

Reed was out in L.A. on Thursday night when he made his prediction -- we're not shocked he's riding with the Hawks ... but the odds are stacked against them. DeMarre Carroll is nursing a bad knee, their best defender is out with a broken leg, and they've lost home court advantage.

Oh yeah, and LeBron.

So, the shocking part is the number of games he thinks the birds will need to come out on top. He's pretty much saying tonight is a must-win.

No pressure, Hawks.

Rapper Lil B

James Harden Needs to Stop Doing My Dance

... OR ELSE!!!

5/21/2015 2:54 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0521-lil-b-james-harden-tmz-01The biggest obstacle standing between James Harden and an NBA championship is not Steph Curry ... it's Lil B, who is threatening to put a curse on The Beard ... unless he cops to his demands.

Lil B is pissed because he thinks Harden keeps jacking his "cooking dance" when he celebrates draining a big shot. Harden has been doing it all season, but Lil B says he's watching the Western Conference Finals -- and if Harden does it again ... it's gonna be curses.  

Lil B tells TMZ Sports, "If Harden doesn't tell what he is doing, which is the Lil B cooking dance, he will be cursed. He needs to stop stealing Lil B swag without showing love."

Lil B is a reasonable man -- he's giving Harden until Game 3 to give him credit, but after that he says the curse goes into effect.

Not a believer? Remember, Lil B cursed Kevin Durant earlier this year, and uhh ...he's somewhere chillin' on a couch right now.

Stir at your own risk, Harden.

Mark Cuban

Tiger Killed Me Slowly, But Surely

At Poker Tables

5/20/2015 3:09 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

Mark Cuban suffered a slow, painful poker death at the hands of Tiger Woods, but wants to make it clear ... he's still got a few pennies left to invest on "Shark Tank." 

Cubes tells TMZ Sports, Tiger did hit him hard during the charity poker tournament in Vegas last weekend, and says Tiger's secret weapon was being a "very patient" player. Odd, since Woods is known to be anything but than when he's stinking up a golf course.

And the Mavericks owner says, despite the hysterical video he posted of Tiger's poker face right after their game -- he didn't lose everything. He says, "We didn’t have any big bets like people made it seem."

In other words, Cuban was just billionaire broke -- as in, still filthy rich to the rest of us -- and only until he walked 20 feet to the nearest ATM.

Who are we kidding? Someone delivers his cash to him. 

Steph Curry's Daughter

NBA Not Banning Kids

After 2-Year-old Hijacks Presser

5/20/2015 2:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

The NBA is NOT giving in to the reporters griping about Steph Curry's adorable daughter -- telling TMZ Sports there are NO immediate plans to ban kids from postgame pressers.   

2-year-old Riley Curry stole the show Tuesday night when Steph brought her to the podium following Golden State's Game 1 victory over the Houston Rockets ... and she hammed it up like a champ!  

Several members of the media bitched that Riley's antics made it difficult for reporters to do their jobs ... including two big shots from ESPN -- Brian Windhorst and Skip Bayless.  

But we spoke with NBA Sr. VP of Communications Tim Frank who tells us there is no current policy against players bringing their kids to the podium ... and there are no plans to change it, despite the criticism. 

By the way, we also reached out to multiple children's talent agencies who tell us they LOVED Riley -- and think she displayed real "star quality" last night. 

Just sayin' ... 

Gary Payton

I Don't Like Basketball Anymore

5/20/2015 10:19 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

He's in the Basketball Hall of Fame ... but Gary Payton tells TMZ Sports he doesn't like the sport anymore -- essentially saying he's completely burned out when it comes to hoops.  

The Glove was leaving Mastro's Steakhouse in Bev Hills when we asked who he's got in the NBA playoffs. 

But his answer was interesting -- Payton basically says he's not really following the league because he's more interested in OTHER sports ... namely football and baseball.  

So why the distaste for basketball?  

"It's hard for somebody to like something when you played it so long."  

Don't worry, Payton has found other hobbies ... dominoes and shooting pool ... and of course, when he plays there's A LOT of trash talk. 

NBA's Kenny Smith

KNICKS ARE CURSED

... Lakers Are Relevant

5/20/2015 7:14 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

The NY Knicks must have done something terrible to someone in a past life, 'cause they're more cursed than the John Madden cover ... so says "Inside the NBA" star Kenny Smith

Of course, Smith's reacting to the Knicks getting the #4 pick at Tuesday night's NBA Draft lottery ... after getting beat out by Minnesota (#1), the Lakers (#2) and Philadelphia (#3). 

FYI -- the way the lottery works, the teams with the worst record have the best odds to get the #1 pick ... and the Knicks had such a bad record this season, they had the SECOND best odds to get the #1 pick in the lottery. Instead, they got screwed. 

You gotta check out Kenny's analysis -- it's pretty hilarious.  

But good news for Lakers fans ... Smith says the Lake Show is actually relevant again and COULD be a playoff contender -- but it all comes down to one very important factor.  

Chris Paul & DeAndre

'Beef' Is Total BS

... Says Clippers Teammate

5/19/2015 11:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0519-deandre-jordan-dahntay-jones-chris-paul-TMZ-GETTY-01There is NO rift between Chris Paul & DeAndre Jordan ... despite reports to the contrary, so says Clippers teammate Dahntay Jones who tells TMZ Sports the L.A. superstars are still like "brothers."

"Guys fight and argue on the court, but that's just the emotion of the game," Jones says ... "but people want to blow things out of proportion."

Jones is responding to an explosive report that Jordan could bolt Tinseltown this summer because he can't stand playing with CP3. 

But Jones says he hasn't seen anything between the guys that make him think beef is on the menu. 

"Those guys are brothers, man. They sit with each other on the plane, on the bus. If you don't like a guy you stay away from him."

As far as Jordan's relationship with rest of the team goes -- Jones says, "Everyone here wants DeAndre back. No other center can do what he does for us."

'Real Housewives' Star

'I'm Honored'

To Sell Michael Jordan's Pad

5/18/2015 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Michael Jordan has called in the big guns to sell his insane Chicago mansion -- hiring "Real Housewives" star Mauricio Umansky ... who tells TMZ Sports he's "honored" to work for the legendary #23.

MJ has been trying to sell the pad since 2012 -- but couldn't move it for the price he wanted (originally $29 mil) .. so swapped out his real estate people and called in Mauricio and Kofi Nartey of The Agency.

"I'm so honored, such a privilege to be hired by the great Michael Jordan,"Mauricio told us.

So, what's Umansky's strategy? It starts with the new asking price ... $14,855,000 ... and when you add those numbers up ... it comes to 23! Pretty cool right? 

Check out the clip ... Mauricio explains why some lucky rich guy is about to land one of the greatest homes he's ever seen.

0517-Michael-Jordan-House-Gallery-Sub-Launch-Template-02

Lil Durk

Ballin' at Rucker

Don't Let the Skinny Jeans Fool Ya ...

5/18/2015 12:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Rapper Lil Durk didn't let his wardrobe stop him from flexin' his hoop skills at the legendary Rucker Park in NYC this week ... ballin' in skinny jeans ... and TMZ Sports has the footage. 

Durk had been running around NYC promoting his new album when he decided to chill out for a few minutes -- and basketball was the perfect way to unwind.

So, he squared off with his manager for a little 1-on-1 ... and we're told he impressed some of the locals. For the record, Durk has previously claimed he's the best hooper in the rap game

By the way, this wasn't a one time deal at Rucker -- we're told Durk is planning to enter a team into one of the leagues this summer. 

Good luck. 

Ex-NFL Lineman

E.J. Johnson's an Inspiration

5/18/2015 12:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0515-chad-hardwick-ej-johnson-GETTY-TWITTER-01Magic Johnson's son is getting serious praise from a former NFL lineman ... who says E.J.'s dramatic 100+ pound weight loss is an "inspiration" for people looking to turn their lives around. 

We spoke with former Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick ... who dropped 85 pounds in 4 months after he retired in 2014 ... and he says he knows exactly what E.J. had to go through. 

"It's hard work," Hardwick says ... "For E.J. to drop more than 100 pounds is significant. He is an inspiration for folks who want to get smaller and healthier and live longer."

0515-ej-johnson-nick-hardwick-before-after-SUB-01

Hardwick says he hopes the two could even team up to educate other people about how to shed the weight ... and more importantly, how to keep it off and stay healthy in the long run. 

"Just like E.J., I'm excited about my new lifestyle and want other people to be just excited ... I would love to get something going with him, together we can help save lives."

Lakers' Jordan Clarkson

PDA with Chanel Iman

... Victoria's Secret Model

5/17/2015 11:46 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0517-jordan-clarkson-chanel-iman-TMZSPORTS-02Might be a hot new couple in Hollywood ... 'cause last night Lakers stud Jordan Clarkson hit the clubs with Victoria's Secret model Chanel Iman -- and TMZ Sports has a shot of the two of them holding hands on the way out!

The 22-year-old NBA rising star was leaving DBA nightclub holding hands with the supermodel ... who has been featured in everything from Sports Illustrated to Vogue.

No word on how serious they are ... or if they're even an official couple ... but our sources who were there say last night, it sure seemed like there was some chemistry between the two.

BTW, this wouldn't be Chanel's first celebrity relationship -- she was engaged to rapper ASAP Rocky ... but they broke things off back in 2014.

0517-chanel-iman-sexy-pics-GALLERY-LAUNCH-02

Ice Cube

Disses Clippers ...

Lakers Still Rule L.A.

5/17/2015 9:26 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

He's straight outta Compton but Ice Cube is only supporting ONE team from his hometown ... the Lakers -- and taking a shot at the Clippers in the process.

Despite the fact the Clippers are about to play in a Game 7 ... and the Lakers are sitting at home ... Cube told TMZ Sports "There's only one team in L.A."

Then, for good measure, Ice throws even more shade at Lob City ... making fun of the team name.

Gotta respect the loyalty -- Cube is no bandwagoner. 

Gilbert Arenas

Dissin' Javaris Crittenton

... He No Longer Exists

5/16/2015 11:56 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Javaris Crittenton is dead to Gilbert Arenas

Agent Zero was out in L.A. last night ... when we asked if he would ever consider visiting his x-NBA teammate in prison, where he'll be spend the next 23 years for killing a woman in 2011.

FYI -- the two made headlines together back in 2009 ... when they pulled guns on each other in the Washington Wizards locker room.

But Arenas tells TMZ Sports he's erased Javaris from his memory -- saying there's no chance he'll visit the guy because ... "Why would I need to be reminded of prison for? I've seen 'Locked Up,' it's not a nice place."

We also asked Arenas about his fireworks arrest in 2013 -- and if he still plans to light up the sky on July 4th, 2015 ... despite the fact he's on probation.

Check out his answer ... clearly, Arenas doesn't care that he's still on probation and skating on thin ice.

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