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Thon Maker's H.S. Coach Passport PROVES He's Really 19 ... See For Yourself!

6/29/2016 12:22 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0629_ThonMaker-Expired-Passport_twitterThon Maker's former high school coach believes the NBA rookie's PASSPORT will help end the debate over Thon's real age ... so he posted it on social media. 

In the days and weeks before he was drafted 10th overall, skeptics claimed the Sudan-born superstar is YEARS older than he claims to be ... and has been lying about his age to get a competitive advantage. 

But Sky Smith -- one of Thon's coaches at the Athlete Institute prep school in Ontario, Canada -- believes Thon's expired passport (issued in 2009) will prove he's really 19 years old. 

Check it out for yourself ... Smith says the passport was issued by the Australian government in 2009 -- when Thon was 12 years old. It says his date of birth is Feb. 25 1997. 

Of course, the conspiracy theorists will continue to theorize ... but this seems to be more solid than a probably photoshopped high school yearbook photo. 

Shareef O'Neal Colleges Love Me Check Out the Recruiting Letters!

6/29/2016 9:31 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0629-shareef-o-neal-snap-01Shaquille O'Neal's son is in high demand -- the 16-year-old high school hoops star just got a brand new wave of letters from colleges hoping to land the 6'9" phenom. 

Everyone knows ... Shareef O'Neal has become one of the most high profile prep basketball players in the country -- with big college programs like LSU, Arizona and Cal reportedly offering him a ride already.

Now, a bunch of other schools have joined the race -- Shareef posted a pic of brand new recruiting letters from Colorado, Saint Mary's, Gonzaga and Memphis. 

Shareef says he hasn't made up his mind yet -- but it seems USC and UCLA are in the lead ... because his mom wants him to stay local. 

Stay tuned ... 

J.R. Smith Selling My Body Tatted Tees Making Huge $$

6/28/2016 9:52 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0628-jr-smith-tattoos-shirt-front-GETTY-FRESH_BREWED_TEES-01Tons of people want a body like J.R. Smith -- and now they can have it ... 'cause the NBA star is selling t-shirts of his tatted physique ... and making a TON of cash in the process. 

Smith's inked up physique dominated the Internet when he refused to put a shirt on following the NBA Finals -- and a Cleveland-based clothing company saw a huge chance to cash in on the topless attention.

We spoke with Tony Madalone of Fresh Brewed Tees who immediately commissioned replicas of Smith's upper body for shirts ... and he says they've already sold 1,000 units ($35 a pop) in less than 24 hours. 

What's interesting ... the company realized some of J.R.'s tats could be problematic because they're based off trademarked images ... such as Michael Jordan's "Jumpman" logo. 


So, in an effort to skirt the issue ... FBT altered some of the tats. Some of the changes -- they removed the name "Jordan" from a #23 jersey and modified the "Jumpman" logo. 

By the way, Obama famously told Smith to put a shirt on after the victory ... wonder if this counts? 

Dwyane Wade Banana Boat Pic Immortalized With Wacky Snapchat Filter

6/28/2016 9:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Anyone hoping to see Dwyane Wade, LeBron James & Chris Paul back on the banana boat is in luck ... kinda ... 'cause the most bromantic moment in NBA history is officially a Snapchat filter.

The guys are all back on vacation -- we're not sure where, but it's nice -- and Wade took to Snapchat to document the festivities using a mini cartoon picture of the guys' famous ride.

Check out the vid -- You can tell it's still the beginning of the trip ... but everyone looks like they're ready to turn up, expect for LeBron ... who's obviously a little tired from carrying an entire city on his back.

No word on whether there will be another boat ride ... but even if there isn't, we'll always have summer 2015.


Tracy McGrady Olympics Are Way Too Dangerous ... No Way I'd Play!!

6/28/2016 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Tracy McGrady says there's NO DAMN WAY he'd hoop for the U.S. in the '16 Olympics ... warning athletes everywhere that Zika and the putrid water situation make it not worth it. 

Tons of huge stars have signed up for Team USA -- including Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving ... while other stars like LeBron, Steph and Russell Westbrook took a pass. 

So, with all the questions about the health risks to the players, we had to ask T-Mac what he would do in the same situation. 

Long story short -- HELLLLLL NO. 

Don't close the door yet, Tracy ... if guys keep dropping out we might actually need you.

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

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

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

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

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

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. 


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

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? 


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

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

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?

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