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Shareef O'Neal I'm Cool with The NBA Age Limit ... But Hey, Some Kids Need Money!

3/18/2018 12:55 AM PDT

Here's high school basketball phenom Shareef O'Neal going deep on one of the hottest topics in basketball -- the NBA age limit (19) ... which screws some players and helps others. 

'Reef gets that not everyone grew up with Shaq money and some players need to get those life-changing checks ASAP, instead of spending a year playing for free. 

"They might just do that to feed their families," Shareef told TMZ Sports. "I think that's why a lot of kids go 1-and-done."

But he also thinks NCAA basketball is the best way to prepare players for the pros -- and he points to the current NBA rookie class ... guys like Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum -- who are holding their own with the best in the world. 

Recently, there's been a lot of talk about finding alternatives to the NCAA -- even LaVar Ball's trying to get in on the action -- but 'Reef argues that 1 year of college education is better than none.

"I think they should just leave it how it is ... college gets kids ready for the NBA," O'Neal said.

FYI, Shareef previously told us he would be 1-and-done too despite being comfortable financially ... but now, it seems like he ain't so sure.

No doubt UCLA's pumped either way -- after losing BOTH Ball bros.

NBA's Chase Budinger Gunnin' for Olympic Gold Medal ... But Not in B-Ball!

3/18/2018 12:40 AM PDT

Former NBA stud Chase Budinger says ballin' for Team USA is his ultimate career goal -- even though he's done with pro hoops!

Here's the deal ... last year, 29-year-old Budinger hung it up and moved back to volleyball, the other sport he used to dominate. (Fun fact: he was the #1 men's volleyball player back in high school.)

Chase tells TMZ Sports he and 2-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal are gearin' up for their 1st season as a beach v-ball team ... and he's hoping they can go all the way in the 2020 Games once they crush a couple summers on the sand.

We wouldn't doubt him -- remember, this is the guy who channeled Billy Hoyle and JUMPED OVER DIDDY at the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest!

Cavs' Rodney Hood Kevin Love Changed the Game for Us ... We're Humans, Too

3/18/2018 12:25 AM PDT

Kevin Love's getting mad love from one of his teammates for talking openly about a panic attack he experienced earlier this season ... and spreading a positive message about mental health awareness.

"A lot of times people don’t look at us as humans, and we go through stuff all the time as well," Cavs SG Rodney Hood told TMZ Sports outside Craig's in L.A.   

Love, DeMar DeRozan and Wizards SF Kelly Oubre have all opened up about their personal issues in recent weeks -- and Hood says it's huge not only for the NBA brotherhood, but the millions of fans they're reaching.

Rodney told us he expects a lot more players to join the conversation ... and K-Love deserves a ton of credit for helping to start the trend.

True that.

Ted Cruz Bet You My Rockets Will Visit Trump ... Unlike the Warriors

3/17/2018 12:35 AM PDT

Ted Cruz says it's awesome his hometown Astros (mostly) said what's up to Trump at the White House ... and he's got faith the Rockets will, too.

We got the Texas Senator after he took in Monday's World Series ceremony in D.C. -- and you can tell he was still PUMPED off his 'Stros winning their first title.

"To win it in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, when so many Houstonians, so many Texans, were hurting -- it just meant an enormous amount," Cruz told TMZ Sports.

It was all pretty touching stuff from Ted ... that is 'til the conversation turned to the defending champion, Warriors -- who staunchly rejected their Oval Office visit.

"I think it is unfortunate that we've seen that happen ... I'm hoping that this is the first of at least two Houston trips to the White House this year."

Guessing he hasn't seen James Harden's hat ...

Tom Benson Dead at 90 Owned Saints & Pelicans

3/15/2018 2:19 PM PDT
Breaking News

Billionaire businessman Tom Benson -- who owned the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans -- has died, his family has confirmed. 

The 90-year-old passed away peacefully Thursday at Ochsner Medical Center in Louisiana with his wife, Gayle Marie Benson, at his side after falling ill with the flu. 

Benson started out as a bookkeeper at a Chevy dealership in New Orleans -- but went on to become a dealership owner and expanded the business into a billion-dollar empire. 

Benson bought the Saints in 1985 -- when they weren't exactly winners (remember the Aints?). The team posted their first winning record in 1987 and made the playoffs that year. Of course, they got better and won the Super Bowl in 2010. 

In 2012, Benson bought the New Orleans Hornets and changed the name to the Pelicans. 


Evelyn Lozada If My Life Was On The Line ... I'd Call Chad Johnson

3/13/2018 4:05 PM PDT

"Basketball Wives" star Evelyn Lozada says if her life were on the line and she could only call one of her exes to save her ... she'd call Chad Johnson in a heartbeat.

Shaunie O'Neal and Evelyn were on "Van Lathan's The Red Pill Podcast" when Lathan asked each lady which one of their famous exes they'd call if they were in a life-threatening situation and could only call one.

Shaunie went with Shaq (duh, they have a perfect post-marriage life) while Evelyn chose the Ex-NFL star.

"Chad. And not that I don't have faith in Carl, Carl would be there, but we're talking about if my life is on the line."

The Carl she's referring to is ex-MLB star Carl Crawford, who Lozada was engaged to and had a son with before they broke up last year.

As for Lozada, she was married to Ochocinco for a little over a month in 2012 before a highly publicized domestic violence incident led to divorce.

Evelyn said she's not at all overlooking that or saying it's not a big deal, but based on the question, it's Chad over Crawford and former NBA star Antoine Walker ... her other famous ex. 

"We're talking about if your life was on the line -- just think about the question."

Clippers' Danilo Gallinari Add LeBron? Nah, I Like My Teammates

3/13/2018 10:12 AM PDT

Guess not everyone's obsessed about teaming up with LeBron this offseason -- at least, not Danilo Gallinari.

We got the Clippers star up in the Bev Hills ... and asked him if he thought Bron might pull a fast one and ditch the Lakers for L.A.'s other hoops squad this summer.

Danilo wasn't so sure about that -- but when we asked if he'd even want the King ballin' with him on the Clips, Gallo didn't mince words.

"I like the teammates that I got now. I like the team that we got now."

Ouch. Somebody go check on Doc Rivers ...

Steph Curry Yachts, Ribs & E-40 ... for 30th Bday Bash!

3/13/2018 8:00 AM PDT

How did Steph Curry get down for his dirty 30??

By pullin' up to his party in a frickin' YACHT ... and slamming a plate of ribs during a live E-40 set!!

And that's just a taste of what went down at Steph's oceanside shindig ... where the 2-time MVP and his Warriors bros rang in his birthday "Ballers" style. 

A ton of lit song and dance went down Monday night in SF ... featuring Curry himself, who hopped onstage to lead a Rick James karaoke bro down!!

Of course, his teammates weren't gonna let him have all the fun -- right, KD, Draymond and Klay?

E-40 wasn't the only music artist in attendance -- Paramore's Hayley Williams was also in the house to serenade him with the happy bday song.

Steph looked happy as hell the whole night ... and we would be too with hundreds of millions in the bank at age 30.

Party on, Stephen.

Update: The Warriors have cancelled Tuesday's team practice. Hungover, much??

Bow Wow Mocks Lonzo Ball Over 3-Point Game 'I Don't Train & I Smoke Weed!'

3/13/2018 7:35 AM PDT

Bow Wow CAN'T BELIEVE he beat Lonzo Ball in a 3-point shooting contest -- even if he only won 1 game out of 3 -- bragging that he out-shot an NBA star without any training and a weed habit! 

"It's the fact that I don't train, I smoke weed, and I make music, and I act. I don't got no time to be training. So the fact that I beat him one time means a lot."

Bow Wow (aka Shad Moss -- aka Calvin Cambridge from "Like Mike") was leaving Poppy in L.A. with his crew when we asked how the shooting contest with Lonzo happened in the first place. 

"Lonzo Ball came to Atlanta (to play the Hawks). They blew us out and we got the word that Lonzo and the Lakers were in (a nearby nightclub) and I said, 'Yo, bring 'em to the studio.'"

Bow Wow has a full basketball court in the studio ... so when Zo showed up, they decided to have a best of 3 shooting contest.

"He won two games. I won one," Bow Wow bragged. 

FYI, Lonzo Ball should have CRUSHED all three games ... and Bow Wow knows it.

But, Zo will have a shot at redemption -- Bow Wow says he has love and respect for Ball and would gladly offer a rematch.

So ... Zo -- you down?

Michael Jordan Sexy Bikini Dance from Hot Wife ... Spring Break!!!!

3/12/2018 8:30 AM PDT

Michael Jordan might be the Michael Jordan of Spring Break -- getting a sexy bikini dance from his smokin' hot wife at a Miami beach party ... and TMZ Sports has the footage! 

MJ and Yvette Prieto hit up the Hyde Beach party at the SLS Hotel over the weekend -- where they balled out with a private cabana stocked with tequila and surrounded by muscle-bound private security. 

She was boozin'. He was smokin'. These two live a helluva life. 

We're told the place was packed with college-aged kids raging it up on Spring Break -- so, most 55-year-olds may have looked out of place ... but this is MICHAEL JORDAN ... so, it was cool. 

One more thing ... take a look at that diamond ring on Yvette's finger -- bigger than her knuckle!

Get it! 

Kardashians Courtside Support For Scotty Pippen Jr.

3/10/2018 7:52 AM PST

The Kardashians showed up in force to lend support to Scotty Pippen Jr., who was playing to win a high school basketball playoff game.

Kim, North West, Kendall, Kourtney and Penelope Disick joined Taco Bennett, Larsa Pippen, Scottie Pippen and Kenyon Martin Sr. to cheer on Scotty's team from Sierra Canyon High School. They played Foothills Christian High and won -- 88 to 62 -- in a CIF Open Division Playoff game. 

All the pretty girls come to represent @spippenjr

A post shared by Larsa Pippen (@larsapippen) on

Kim was a trooper ... she just returned from Tokyo, but extended fam is extended fam. 

Kobe Bryant Hell Yeah, I Threw Punches at Shaq ... He Started It!!

3/9/2018 7:17 AM PST
Breaking News

Imagine seeing the massive fist of a 7-foot-1-inch giant coming at your face ... then imagine having the cojones to throw a punch right back!! 

Kobe Bryant gave a blow-by-blow of his very first physical altercation with Shaq on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Thursday night ... revealing the Big Aristotle was the first to throw hands.

Black Mamba says the 2 Laker legends duked it out after trash talking throughout a scrimmage during the 1998 NBA lockout.

"I must've been the craziest 19-year-old in the world to fight this guy ... at that point, you just gotta say look man, you're either gonna beat the hell outta me, but you're gonna know that I'm not gonna back down."

And they never had another conflict again. Oh wait ... 

OKC Thunder Player Knocked Out Cold! ... By His Teammate!!

3/9/2018 6:42 AM PST
Breaking News

OKC Thunder star Steven Adams knocked his teammate OUT COLD in a game last night ... but they weren't fighting -- Adams was literally standing still!

The bizarre play went down at the Chesapeake Energy Arena ... when Thunder rookie Terrance Ferguson tried to stay with his man on D. 

Unfortunately, standing in his way was 7 feet, 255 pounds of chiseled Jason Momoa-looking muscle (Adams) ... and Ferguson's svelte 6'7'', 184-pound frame couldn't handle the business. 

The 2 collided heads -- and DOWN WENT FERGY. Adams was totally fine, BTW.

Steven, being the good dude that he is, quickly got the rook some medical attention ... and it looks like Terrance is gonna be OK outside of a possible concussion.

But damn, lesson learned -- don't tango with Steven Adams.

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