Blake Griffin has been accused of bitch-slapping a 39-year-old man inside a nightclub in Vegas this weekend ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Here's what we know ... a man named Daniel says he was partying at Tao nightclub in the Venetian in the early hours of October 19th when he tried to take a cell phone pic of the crowd.
According to a statement Daniel gave to Tao security, the man says Blake (who was partying at the club with his L.A. Clippers teammates) was bothered by the flash of the camera -- and "grabbed my phone with one hand."
Daniel says he didn't let go of the phone because his ID and credit card were attached to it -- so Blake grabbed his neck and began to squeeze while demanding Daniel give up his phone "or else."
According to the statement, the two eventually separated after Blake took the phone -- and when Daniel tried to ask for it back, Blake struck again ... grabbing his neck and squeezing for a second time.
Daniel says when security finally got to the scene -- Blake told them, "Get him the f**k out of this club."
Daniel says Blake then "slapped me in the right side of my face."
After he left the club, Daniel filed a battery report with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. He says cops came to his hotel the next day and spoke with him for about an hour.
So far, attempts to reach Blake for comment have been unsuccessful.
Story developing ...
MEN'S UNDERWEAR BATTLE
... With Russell Westbrook
10/22/2014 6:35 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
There's a war brewing in the Oklahoma City Thunder locker room -- an underwear war -- because teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are now officially competitors in the man-panties biz.
Durant just inked a deal with Neff -- one of the hottest skater/surfer brands -- to launch an underwear line ... set to kick off next year in time for back to school shopping.
Neff works with HUGE celebs and athletes (Snoop Dogg and Richard Sherman, to name a few) ... but Durant's deal is different because he actually OWNS part of the new line.
In fact, we spoke with Shaun Neff, the founder of the company, who tells us, "We've met several times. He's very involved, especially in the creative process and marketing."
So, where does Westbrook fit in? RW has a line of boutique undies with Kings & Jaxs -- featuring all sorts of funky designs personally approved by Westbrook.
Bottom line -- these guys are super competitive ... so it'll be interesting to see who emerges as the Underwear King of Oklahoma.
Stay tuned ...
NBA Great Mitch Richmond
To Michael Sam:
Don't Give Up Your Dreams, Bro
10/22/2014 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
NBA Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond has a very clear message for Michael Sam -- don't give up -- telling TMZ Sports that he hopes Sam does everything he can to keep his NFL dream alive.
Richmond was out in Calabasas when our camera guy asked the 6-time All-Star and Cowboys fan about Sam being cut from the 'Boys practice squad to make room for another player.
Check out the clip -- Richmond goes all Jim Valvano on us, delivering just the message that Sam probably needs to hear right now.
And just in case you need some extra motivation today, here's Jimmy V at his finest ...
Squashes Beef with Spike Lee
But Fires One Last Shot!
10/21/2014 6:27 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The war may be over -- but NY Knicks superfan Michael Rapaport couldn't help but take one last shot at Spike Lee ... and it was pretty hilarious.
Lee and Rapaport had been feuding for months over how to fix the problems in New York City -- Rapaport called Lee a "s**t stain" and Lee said Michael was "stupid."
But Michael recently told HuffPost Live they spoke on the phone and squashed the beef for good.
In fact, when we saw Michael out in NYC Monday ... he was PRAISING Spike as the biggest Knicks fan in the world -- even bigger than he is -- but dropped one last zinger at the famous director.
All in good fun though ... right?
Don't Mess With 48-Minute Games!
10/20/2014 11:51 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Chris Paul & Blake Griffin
HILARIOUS ROOKIE HAZING
In Vegas Nightclub
10/20/2014 8:23 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Seems the L.A. Clippers are over that whole Donald Sterling thing -- because the team hit up a Vegas nightclub together Saturday night ... and even (playfully) hazed one of their rookies right on the dance floor.
It all went down at Tao in the Venetian -- where Chris Paul was the "celebrity host." But CP3 didn't come alone ... he was joined by teammates Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick, Big Baby Davis and more.
There were bottles, there were hot ladies ... and there was a moment where the guys forced rookie C.J. Wilcox to get on the dance floor and turn up while the team cheered him on.
Not exactly Miami Dolphins-style hazing.
At one point, Big Baby grabbed the mic and led the crowd in a rendition of his single, "Big Baby Gon Turn It Up" ... and everyone loved it.
It's clear these guys really like each other off the court -- question is ... will their close-knit bond translate to wins ON the court? Stay tuned ...
Phoenix Suns Exec
Apologizes to Fans for Having to Watch Crappy Team
10/17/2014 6:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Here's some quality white-collar smack talk ... courtesy of the Phoenix Suns.
A Suns exec grabbed a mic and addressed the crowd during the end of the Suns game last night -- and apologized to fans for having to watch the crappy Spurs.
It was so bad, the exec -- Managing Partner Robert Sarver -- told fans to send in their tickets and he would send them a special gift.
Sarver was so pissed because 5 big Spurs players -- and the Spurs coach -- didn't make the trip to Phoenix for rest and recovery reasons and he felt San Antonio screwed his fans out of their "hard-earned money."
No Tim Duncan. No Manu Ginobili. No Kawhi Leonard. No Patty Mills. No Tiago Splitter. No Gregg Popovich.
No word on what kind of a "gift" Sarver will be sending to fans -- but the public-trolling is almost good enough.
Matt Barnes & Gloria
Will Get Back Together
... Says Gloria's Sister
10/17/2014 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Don't put a fork in Matt Barnes and Gloria Govan's marriage just yet ... 'CAUSE IT AIN'T OVER ... so says Gloria's sister Laura Govan -- who knows what it's like to be in a relationship with an NBA star.
Laura -- who has 4 kids with NBA star Gilbert Arenas -- was out in Calabasas when our photog asked if there was chance her sister would ever reconcile with Matt now that they've separated.
Peep the video -- it's clear Laura's a "glass half full" type of gal ... and explains why there's no doubt they'll be one happy couple again in no time.
Meets Baby Daughter
Gunning for Joint Custody
10/16/2014 5:14 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Paul George has a new lady in his life ... his 5-month-old daughter Olivia ... who he met for the first time Thursday -- and now TMZ Sports has learned the NBA star is gunning for joint custody of the child.
As we previously reported, George swore that he would "do the right thing" if a paternity test proved he fathered a child with a woman named "Daniella" who he had a relationship with in 2013.
Now, we've learned George is convinced he IS the daddy ... and his attorney is currently in the process of hammering out a joint custody arrangement with the mom.
Paul's attorney tells TMZ Sports ... "Paul has always wanted to accept responsibility and play a role in his daughter’s life -- and wanted to make sure it was handled properly through the legal system."
We're told Paul is "very excited" about having a huge role in his daughter's life -- "He can't wait to be a dad to her."
RIPS Donald Sterling
'He Was Like A Weird Uncle'
10/16/2014 10:14 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Blake Griffin says he's THRILLED the Clips are finally rid of Donald Sterling -- saying the guy was "like a weird uncle" who was clearly "off his rocker."
Griffin just spilled his guts about his former boss on The Players Tribune -- saying his relationship with Sterling was bizarre from day 1 ... when the old man tried to hook him up with two women at a Malibu beach party who were likely paid escorts.
"Two blonde models showed up on either side of me. They had clearly been hired for the event. I knew this because they were wearing size XXXX-L Clippers T-shirts tied at the stomach. I looked at Sterling. He had a big dumb grin on his face. I looked at one of the girls, as if to say, “Uhhh, you don’t have to do this.” She looked back: “Uhhh, yes I do."
In the article, Griffin also talks about how he felt the first time he heard the infamous Sterling audio recording -- saying:
"It was shocking to actually hear what he said, but not really that surprising to me."
There's more about Sterling ... here are some of the highlights:
-- "The guy was off his rocker."
-- "He kind of sounds like a combination of Walter Matthau and Michael Jackson."
-- "[Steve Ballmer] is a good dude. He’s like a cool dad who gives you candy. Donald was like a weird uncle"
Griffin concluded his tell-all with this nugget:
"Someone asked me the other day if I’m mad that he made out with $2 billion for selling the team. Maybe a little bit. But in the end, I’m just happy he’s gone."
Matt Barnes' Wife
Allegedly Forged NBA Star's Signature
... For Secret $150k Loan
10/16/2014 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Seems the "trust issues" in Matt Barnes' marriage may be coming to light ... because his estranged wife Gloria Govan has been accused of forging the NBA star's signature to take out a $150k loan ... this according to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ Sports.
The woman behind the lawsuit is Nina Rawls -- the widow of R&B legend Lou Rawls -- who claims Gloria approached her back in March and asked to borrow $150k for a TV project produced by Gloria and Matt's production company.
Rawls says she agreed -- but the loan had to be repaid in full just 2 MONTHS later. According to the suit, May came and went ... and Gloria (who stars on "Basketball Wives: LA") never ponied up the dough.
Eventually, Nina says Gloria ADMITTED that she forged Matt's signature on the loan docs in the first place. It's unclear if Matt ever knew about the loan in the first place ... but our sources tell us Barnes was completely in the dark about the alleged deal.
Now, Nina wants the full $150k back -- plus damages.
We called Matt and Gloria's reps for comment -- so far no word back.
Lakers Star Nick Young
After Rapper Disses GF Iggy Azalea
10/15/2014 6:28 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
L.A. Lakers star Nick Young is finally stepping in to the war between his GF Iggy Azalea and Snoop -- calling the rapper a loser who's going through a "midlife crisis."
Snoop has been tormenting Iggy for days -- first making fun of the way she looks without makeup .... then comparing her to Marlon Wayans in "White Chicks."
Iggy fired back -- tweeting at Snoop that she didn't understand why he was being so mean to her. She also posted a pic comparing him to a "drugged out" old woman."
Snoop responded to that ... with a video in which he called Iggy a b*tch and a *c**t" -- and warned her "n**ger" to keep her in check.
Finally, Young decided enough was enough -- and joined the fight on Twitter ... writing, "Ain't nobody worried about no SnoopLion .. This dude Just goin thru a midlife Crisis."
He added, "You Go get convertible yet . OG's out here losin."
Young also posted another tweet seemingly directed at Snoop -- saying, " These old heads turnin into sucka's."
We're guessing this war is far from over.
NBA Star Matt Barnes
Separated from Gloria Govan
... 'Trust Issues'
10/14/2014 7:08 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
L.A. Clippers star Matt Barnes has separated from his reality star wife Gloria Govan ... TMZ Sports has learned -- and sources close to the couple tell us it's all over "trust issues."
Barnes and Govan were married back in 2012 -- and have 5-year-old twin boys together.
Sources connected to the couple tell us Matt and "Basketball Wives: LA" star Gloria have been separated for about 6 weeks.
We're told they're still technically living in the same house -- but it's just temporary and it's just a matter of time before one of them moves out and they start the divorce process.
Maybe one of the biggest signs things were going south ... Matt hasn't posted a picture of Gloria on Instagram in months. And we haven't been able to find a picture of Gloria wearing her wedding ring since late-August.