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Matt Barnes Don't Sweat Oscar Academy Snub ... Kobe Will Get In!!

6/22/2018 12:10 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kobe Bryant's ex-teammate is going to bat for the future NBA Hall of Famer ... with Matt Barnes telling TMZ Sports Kobe will end up in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences someway, somehow.

Remember, Bryant was just denied entry into the exclusive club, despite winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short for "Dear Basketball."

Barnes was at an Athletes vs. Cancer event at Skybar on Thursday where he told us Kobe's bounced back from far worse Ls in his career ... and he expects to see the same thing with the Academy membership.

"They're gonna make it tough on him, but I know he's a hard worker," Barnes told us ... "One way or another, he'll end up in there."

For the record ... Kobe did win two NBA championships AFTER losing two (he finished with five rings total) ... so, sounds like Barnes might be on to something here.

Kendall Jenner Back with Ben Simmons ... Let's Party!!

6/22/2018 6:18 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ben Simmons is pulling a Khloe Kardashian -- getting back together with his significant other after she sucked face with another person!

Just weeks after Kendall Jenner was spotted making out with Anwar Hadid, she seems to be fully back with the 6'10" Simmons ... because the 2 partied in Hollywood on Thursday until 2 in the morning!!

Check out this video of the couple (?) leaving Hyde nightclub on the Sunset Strip right around closing time and driving off in the same SUV. 

One thing we also noticed ... 21-year-old Ben gave a stiff-arm to the rose lady who was hoping the NBA star would reach into his pockets to impress Kendall after the club. 

No luck this time -- too soon?

J.R. Smith Game 1 Meltdown Jersey Sells For $23,500!!

6/22/2018 6:32 AM PDT
Breaking News

How much dough would you cough up to own a piece of the biggest boneheaded play of 2018??

For one fan, the magic number is a whoppin' $23,548!! ... 'cause that's what J.R. Smith's NBA Finals Game 1 jersey sold for Thursday night ... TMZ Sports has learned.

ICYMI -- the bidding started at $620 ... but things started heating up on the final day of bidding, with the number reaching around $11k ... then DOUBLING before the auction closed.

To put things in perspective, LeBron James' Game 1 threads -- which he wore during his historic 51-point performance -- fetched $100,322 ... but that was probably bought for different reasons.

No word on the identity of the person who snatched up the J.R. jersey -- but we're guessing only a Warriors fan would want this memento.

LaVar Ball If Lakers Trade Lonzo ... 'Worst Move They Ever Made'

6/22/2018 6:03 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

LaVar Ball has heard the trade rumors involving Lonzo Ball going to the Spurs ... and has a message for the Lakers: 

"If they wanna trade him, trade him. It'll be the worst move they ever made."

LaVar went off at his JBA season opener on Thursday afternoon -- when we asked about the rumblings that Magic Johnson could ship Lonzo to San Antonio to get Kawhi Leonard

"If they wanna trade him, trade him. If they don't wanna trade him, keep him. He's gonna do his thing. I'm not worried about no trades. 

LaVar says he's still 100% confident all 3 of his boys will eventually play on the same NBA team, despite the fact LiAngelo wasn't drafted on Thursday. 

"He'll come in the back door as a free agent," LaVar explained. 

"Somebody will take all 3 of my boys and whoever do, guess what -- championship."

LiAngelo Ball Hanging at Dad's Hoops League ... Instead of NBA Draft

6/21/2018 5:42 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

LiAngelo Ball -- who strongly believes he'll be drafted by an NBA team -- is NOT currently at an NBA Draft party. Instead, he's at a big event for his dad's new basketball league.

The former UCLA/Lithuanian league player was courtside at LaVar's JBA season opener at Citizen's Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA.

Remember, 'Gelo previously told us he was getting strong interest from NBA teams -- which may be the case -- but there's no draft fanfare like there was for Lonzo last year ... when he was selected as the second overall pic in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Speaking of Lonzo, he was also at the JBA event, along with his pregnant GF, Denise Garcia

As for LaVar ... there's plenty of support at the JBA opener from close friends and family members -- but, to be honest, the arena is pretty empty.

Obviously, this is just the beginning for LaVar -- if the games are good and the talent is real ... his amateur hoops league has a shot.

Khloe & Tristan The Couple That Slays (Calories) Together ... Stays Together

6/21/2018 4:00 PM PDT
Breaking News

If there was any doubt Khloe & Tristan have put the whole "cheating and embarrassing her in front the world" thing behind them, we have video of the couple doing something they'd never do if they were fighting.

Working out together.

Khloe just had baby True a couple months ago, and Tristan is trying to keep his world-class NBA physique in peak second-place form, so they hit a session together and posted the whole thing.

The couple's been seen all over town recently, hitting up hot spots and showing off a united front for the paparazzi, letting everyone know it's all good, so the joint sweat session shouldn't be a surprise.

As for the workout ... KK opted for cardio with light resistance, while TT went for strength.

Let's hope he's stronger than he was last year.

Deandre Ayton No Doubt About It ... Goes #1 to Suns in NBA Draft

6/21/2018 4:40 PM PDT
Breaking News

With the first pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select Deandre Ayton ... the gigantic beast of a center from the University of Arizona!!

OK, so there wasn't much doubt about this one ... Ayton's been called a player of a generation and possibly the next Wilt Chamberlain, so it was a no-brainer for the Suns to take him first.

Plus, he gets to stay in the state where he made a name for himself in college and already has a huge fanbase, so ... solid move.

Thursday night's draft class is considered one of the best, but most unpredictable other than the top pick, in years. Should be fun.

NBA Draft Fashion the Good, the Bad and the Swaggy

6/21/2018 12:48 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

It's the moment of truth for the newest class of NBA prospects -- who's gonna have the most dope outfit when their name is called at the Draft?!

Before these guys face off on the hardwood next season, their first big head-to-head matchup is going down in the fashion department. Some of the highlights include ...

Ex-Kentucky Wildcat Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is leading the charge ... rockin' a champagne-colored floral suit made by Jhoanna Alba.

Zhaire Smith stayed true to his favorite color, with an all blue suit and Del Toro cork loafers (and a Puma lapel pin, of course) ... made by Elevee designer Boushra Alchabaoun.

Projected mid-first rounder Lonnie Walker went with a bold all-white suit and pink tie combo ... also designed by Alchabaoun.

These dudes are about to become instant millionaires ... and they sure look like it.

Steve Nash It's Not Dwight Howard's Fault ... It's The NBA

6/21/2018 11:46 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Dwight Howard being traded around the NBA isn't because he's a crappy teammate ... so says ex-teammate Steve Nash, who tells TMZ Sports Howard's city jumping is just the way the league is now.

Dwight is on his way to Brooklyn (who reportedly will buy out his contract, so we don't know where he's going), his fourth team in four years -- a lot of stops for a future Hall of Famer.

There are some rumors that Howard might have worn out his welcome with teammates in Charlotte, something that's been said in some of his past stops as well.

Nash says that's not it at all ... telling our guy players moving around is just the way the association is now.

"That's the modern NBA. Guys change teams all the time, it's not uncommon."

True ... but still, four teams in four years and not knowing where he's headed now? Howard might want to get some Edible Arrangements for his new squad.

J.R. Smith Brainfart Cavs Jersey Auction ... Over $11,000!!!

6/21/2018 9:13 AM PDT
Breaking News

The war for J.R. Smith's most infamous jersey is raging -- with bidding on his NBA Finals brainfart uniform already passing the $11,000 mark!!!

The NBA is auctioning off the jersey from Game 1 of the NBA Finals -- the game where Smith grabbed a clutch rebound with the score tied at the end of the 4th quarter and, for some reason ... RAN OUT THE CLOCK! 

The bidding started at $620 ... but things escalated quickly and, after 110 bids, the number has already reached $11,120. 

Just like in Game 1, the clock is winding down ... bidding ends at 6:50 PM PT Thursday. 

FYI ... LeBron's Game 1 jersey -- the one he scored 51 points in and STILL lost -- is up for sale too, for around $100k.

So ... for way less than a quarter of a million -- you can act out the infamous play in authentic attire at your local Y.

Kyrie Irving Date Night with Chantel Jeffries ... Bieber's Ex-GF

6/21/2018 12:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Seems Kyrie Irving and Chantel Jeffries really are a thing -- 'cause the two were spotted on a movie date together on Monday ... and we're told they looked like a couple. 

The NBA star and Justin Bieber's ex-girlfriend took in a flick at the iPic in Westwood, CA -- "Incredibles 2" -- and they held hands on the way out of the place. 

By the way, the iPic is a seriously fancy joint -- it's got a full wait staff, bar and kitchen menu and they serve you in your seat while you're watching the movie! 

The two were reportedly spotted in New York earlier this month -- but it's unclear if they were together or just hanging out. 

Jeffries -- a DJ -- has been linked to a bunch of stars, including The Weeknd and DeSean Jackson. She was also famously in the car when Bieber was arrested for his DUI back in 2014. 

Irving dated Kehlani back in the day -- but recently came out and said they're still good friends. 

Josh Hart Everybody Chill Kyle & Lonzo Are Just Fine

6/20/2018 3:59 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Anyone waiting for Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball to get into a full-blown beef is about to be disappointed ... because Lakers guard Josh Hart says everything is cool between the two guys.

Lonzo and Kuzma have been taking shots at each other on social media (and on rap songs) so much that the Lakers brass reportedly stepped in and asked them to stop.

So, we got Hart out at The Peppermint Club in L.A. (where he was partying with his teammate, Julius Randle) and asked him if it's getting outta hand ... and he broke it down for us.

Chill guys ... don't scare Kawhi away.

Marvin Bagley 'Best Player In the Draft' ... Says Dad

6/20/2018 12:20 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Marvin Bagley III should DEFINITELY be the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday ... so says his father, Marvin Bagley II

"He should [go #1]," Bagley told TMZ Sports out in NYC ... "He's the best player in the draft!"

Marvin's dad says the whole family is excited for the 19-year-old superstar -- saying they're all trying to take it one day at a time. 

We also asked if he was concerned about fake friends trying to leech off Marvin after he gets rich -- and Mr. Bagley told us there's a plan for that.

"He's just gotta keep the circle tight!" 

It's good advice -- but as we all know, easier said than done. 

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