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Gary Payton NBA Is Softer Now ... But That's A Good Thing

12/6/2016 7:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

NBA great Gary Payton says there's no doubt that the league is a little more Charmin then it was when he was in it ... but says that's a GOOD thing, cause it makes the game a lot safer for kids.

We got the Glove out at Catch in L.A. and asked him about some comments he'd made on Twitter earlier this year about the state of the game ... basically that he couldn't play in this ticky tack foul era.

That's when Payton got into it ... saying the game is a lot more exposed now, and you have to keep things clean if you don't want young players Draymond Green-ing each other in the nuts.

Man has a point.

Derek Carr & Latavius Murray Treat Raiders Linemen to Epic Warriors Game

12/6/2016 7:04 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1206-raiders-group-shot-golden-state-warriors-TWITTER-01The Oakland Raiders offensive line got a celebratory night out courtesy of their QB and RB -- with Derek Carr and Latavius Murray springin' for tickets to Monday night's Warriors game! 

And talk about timing ... the game turned out to be insane -- with Klay Thompson dropping 60 points in 3 quarters. 

Of course, the guys made sure to get a pic with Klay after the game.

Kevin Durant's mom, Wanda, was also at the game -- and got her pic with Derek Carr ... the "Real MVP" meeting the next NFL MVP???

1206-wanda-durant-derek-carr-warriors-game-raiders-TWITTER-01

Doc Rivers I Deserved Ejection Shouldn't Have Acted Like That

12/5/2016 7:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Doc Rivers knows he crossed a line when he LOST HIS MIND on an NBA ref Tuesday night -- saying plain and simple ... he shouldn't have acted that way. 

The outburst went viral -- Clippers players had to restrain Doc from going after ref Ken Mauer when he was issued a technical foul for talking to another ref during the 1st overtime period against the Nets.  

"Yeah, you don't act like that," Doc told us at Catch in West Hollywood this weekend ... "You should get thrown out for that."

Don't worry ... Doc says he's cool with Mauer too -- calling him a good guy. 

There's more ... we also asked Rivers about certain NBA players saying they would boycott a White House championship visit during Trump's administration. It's clear he's NOT on board with that. 

NBA Star Matt Barnes Accused of Choking Woman in NYC Nightclub

12/5/2016 4:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Sacramento Kings star Matt Barnes is wanted by NYPD for questioning after he allegedly choked a woman inside a nightclub early Monday morning -- and TMZ Sports got video of him right after the incident.

Law enforcement sources tell us cops got a 911 call to Avenue Nightclub after midnight, reporting a man assaulting 2 women and another man. We're told things got physical when Barnes allegedly choked one woman during an argument -- and when 2 other people tried to intervene ... he punched both of them.

In the video, Matt and his teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, are talking about the fight. Cousins is clearly heard saying, "I hit hit the s*** out this ni***!" 

Barnes fled the scene before cops showed up. The Kings were in town to play the Knicks on Sunday. They lost.

Cops are investigating and looking for Barnes.

LeBron James PUBLICLY SHAMED ... Who's the Goat Now?!

12/2/2016 2:23 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1202-lebron-james-cubs0uniform-uninterruptedHere's LeBron James hilariously proving he's a man of his word ... even when he's a loser. 

Bron lost his World Series bet with Dwyane Wade (Cleveland vs. Chicago) ... and agreed to wear a Chicago Cubs jersey to pay it off.

Question ... where the hell did they find a jersey big enough to fit this guy?

Good on you, LeBron. There's always next year ... 

[h/t Uninterrupted]

Shaq Barkley & Jordan Beef? ... I AIN'T IN IT!!!

12/1/2016 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Change Shaq's name to Bennett, cause he says he AIN'T IN IT when it comes to the beef between Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley ... telling TMZ Sports he's staying all the way out of the discourse.

Shaq would actually be a good candidate to Jimmy Carter the situation ... he's close to both men, working alongside Barkley on TNT ... and being frat brothers and friends with MJ.

But when we got him out in DC he made it clear ... he ain't the big Henry Kissinger ... saying he's totally on the sidelines when it comes to the Hall Of Fame beef.

BTW -- Check out Shaq getting out of the car ... not to spoil it for you guys ... but he's gigantic.

Isaiah Austin I've Been Cleared to Play Basketball Again ... Gunning for NBA

11/30/2016 3:13 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1130-isaiah-austin-TMZ-01Isaiah Austin -- the ex-college basketball star who was diagnosed with a rare heart condition before the 2014 Draft -- says his doctors have finally cleared him to play again ... and it sounds like he's gunning for the NBA. 

The 23-year-old was a stud at Baylor -- but his basketball career came to a screeching halt when he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome and doctors told him it was too risky to play pro ball. 

Austin was an honorary draft pick that year -- and Isaiah told TMZ Sports NBA Commish Adam Silver offered him a job with the league after he got his degree. 

But now, Austin told Cassy Athena's Thru The Lens that doctors gave him the green light 4 months ago to get back on the court ... and I.A. says he got very emotional when he got the news. 

He never straight-up says his goal is to play in the NBA ... but it seems pretty obvious he wants a shot. 

Congrats!

[h/t Bleacher Report]

Iman Shumpert I Won't Go to Trump White House ... If Cavs Win Again

11/30/2016 2:19 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1130-iman-shumpert-donald-trump-tmz-01Iman Shumpert says he would boycott Donald Trump's White House if the Cavs repeat as NBA champs and are invited back to 1600 Pennsylvania.

The Cavs star was speaking with Complex when he was asked if he would boycott Yeezys after Kanye West expressed support for the President-elect.

"I understand people’s stance on Trump. I can’t get caught up in the racial, sexist bulls**t he’s got going on. That’s his personal thing, ya dig."

He added, "I do think he’s crazy -- straight up."

Complex followed up with the White House question:

Complex: "Will you go to Trump’s White House if the Cavs win the championship again this year?

Iman: "I’m not going to the White House."

As for Iman's teammate, LeBron James -- he says he's undecided about what he would do ... saying, "We’ll have to cross that road, I guess. We’ll see. I would love to have to cross that road."

Charles Barkley Michael Jordan Beef Still Fresh 'Not Where We Used To Be'

11/29/2016 11:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

Looks like the band isn't getting back together just yet ... 'cause Charles Barkley says his chilly friendship with Michael Jordan hasn't been re-warmed after all.

Barkley appeared on "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stu Gotz" on ESPN radio and spilled some Hall Of Fame tea ... saying the picture of him and Michael side hugging last month was nothing more than a photo op.

1019-michael-jordan-charles-barkley

"We just happened to be at the same place at the same time. I love him like a brother but we are not back to where we used to be."

The third man in the photo, Kenny Smith, had told TMZ Sports Barkley and Jordan did in fact bury the hatchet that day ... but clearly, it ain't that buried. 

As for the origin of the beef, Barkley says Michael got upset at criticisms CB made publicly about MJ's performance as the chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. 

Barkley says he misses his friend -- but he's a professional analyst and won't apologize for doing his job. 

Snoop Dogg Hey, 2 Chainz ... LAKERS WHOOPED DAT ASS!

11/28/2016 3:28 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Snoop Dogg was all about the victory trash talk after his Lakers beat up on 2 Chainz's ATL Hawks this weekend ... telling the rapper, "Y'all can't f*** with us!" 

The Doggfather made a video in the aftermath of the young Lakers' 109-94 win over the Hawks ... seizing the opportunity to rub it in Tity Boi's face, who had floor seats at the game.

We'd give you some of the quotes here ... but there aren't enough symbols on the keyboard for us to substitute for Snoop's trademark colorful language, so your best bet is just to enjoy the video.

Earmuffs when necessary.

[h/t The Big Lead]

Knicks to Ex Carnegie Deli Wife We Got Beef ... $97k Worth of Tix!

11/28/2016 12:57 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1128-KNICKS-CARNEGIE-GETTY-TMZ-2BA New York Knicks superfan, who's also linked to another NYC landmark, is stiffing the team on her super expensive courtside seats ... according to Madison Square Garden honchos.

MSG, which owns the Knicks, just sued Terry Klein, wife of the former co-owner of the legendary Carnegie Deli, for 10 Knicks season tickets she enjoyed using -- and allegedly reselling -- during the 2015-16 NBA season. According to the docs, obtained by TMZ Sports, Terry either used or resold more than 90 percent of the tickets she was given.

There were 44 home games (pre and regular season) ... so we're talking 440 tickets! MSG says the total cost for those primo seats is $101,225 -- but Terry had a credit from the previous season ... so, they say she owes $97,865.

MSG points out Terry and her husband, Fred Klein, have been loyal Knicks fans "for decades" ... so it's "reluctantly" filing the lawsuit. MSG says it's only suing because Terry has agreed she owes the dough, but continually refuses to pay.

No doubt, Terry deserves something for remaining a Knicks fan -- it's been 43 years since their last championship -- but $97k seems steep.

We reached out to the Kleins ... so far no word back.

Dwight Howard Heckler Called His Mom a 'Whore' ... Days Before Outburst

11/28/2016 9:55 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Dwight Howard might have been at the end of his rope when a Lakers fan called him a "bitch" Sunday night -- because just last week, another heckler told him his mother is a "whore."

It all went down on Nov. 23rd after Dwight's ATL Hawks beat the Pacers in Indiana -- when a fan leaned over the tunnel to the locker room and said, "Good game, Dwight. Have a nice evening. Your mother's a whore!"

Dwight clearly heard it -- but turned and walked away.

But fast forward to Sunday night at Staples ... when ANOTHER heckler leaned over to Howard and said, "Kobe all day! Kobe! Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!"

Howard -- who was signing autographs for fans -- handled that heckling situation with a smile and a wave. 

Of course, the straw that broke the camel's back went down a few hours later, after the game, when Howard went off on a fan who called him a "bitch."

Hey, a guy can only take so much ... 

Dwight Howard CHALLENGES LAKERS FAN TO FIGHT ... Call Me a Bitch to My Face

11/28/2016 6:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Dwight Howard doesn't like being called a bitch -- and was physically restrained when he got into it with a Lakers fan after the game Sunday night.

TMZ Sports has footage in which you can hear a man shouting obscenities at Howard after the Lakers beat the Hawks 109-94 at Staples Center. 

At one point the man -- who we're told appeared to be in his 20s -- says, "You're a bitch!" 

Dwight -- who was on the way to the locker room -- stopped in his tracks and jawed back at the heckler, "Come back here and say it."

A team official grabs Howard and starts physically pushing the 6'11" superstar back toward the tunnel ... as he continues to challenge the fan.

It's not the first time Howard's been heckled at Staples -- the former Laker was taunted last year with a "Kobe" chant during a playoff game against the Clippers. He wasn't happy then either. 

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