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Dennis Rodman Kim Jong-un Got Rejected ... By Michael Jordan

6/23/2018 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Before Kim Jong-un met Dennis Rodman in North Korea -- he reached out to Michael Jordan, but got shot down by His Airness ... this according to Rodman himself. 

The Worm appeared on "TMZ Live" and said the first time he met Kim Jong-un was in 2013 on a basketball trip with the Harlem Globetrotters. 

During the trip, Rodman says Kim Jong-un's people invited him to meet with the North Korean leader and they hit it off ... and became friends.  

But Rodman says he wasn't Kim's first choice -- revealing, "Basically, he asked Michael Jordan first and Michael Jordan said, 'No.' So then he asked about me and I said, 'Yes.' That's how it all started."

Turns out, Kim Jong-un is a huge fan of the legendary Chicago Bulls teams of the '90s!

So, why did Rodman -- who's now working as a consultant for AnyTickets.com -- accept the invite? His explanation is actually pretty interesting. 

By the way Rodman tells us his new ticket venture isn't just about going to sporting events and concerts, some of the profits will be donated to charity. 

Master P LiAngelo Should Go Back To School ... LaVar Don't Know It All

6/23/2018 12:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

LaVar Ball doesn't know it all, and the proof is that LiAngelo didn't get drafted ... so says Master P,who tells TMZ Sports he thinks Gelo should go back to school.

LiAngelo didn't hear his name called draft night ... leaving some to wonder what's next for the kid, who LaVar promised would one day join Lonzo on the Lakers.

We got P out in L.A. and he made it clear he thinks it was a mistake for Gelo to leave UCLA in the first place, and told our guy he thinks the 19-year-old should hightail it back to Westwood.

"I mean if he can, I would go back."

P wasn't finished ... saying he thinks the fact that he's currently without a basketball team should be a wake-up call to LiAngelo ... about his father.

"It just show you that Lavar don't have that magic ball like he thought he had."

FWIW, we talked to LaVar and he told us he still expects Gelo to get signed to a free agent deal, but we gotta admit, Big Baller Brand basketball has seen better days.

Clyde Drexler BIG3 Will Launch Guys Back to NBA

6/22/2018 4:13 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Clyde Drexler says the BIG3 league is packed with at least 12 dudes who have a real shot at NBA glory in 2018 ... telling TMZ Sports he expects his league to launch those guys back to The Association. 

Drexler just took over as the commish of Ice Cube's 3-on-3 league and says he's been blown away by guys like Amare Stoudemire, DeShawn Stevenson and Andre Owens

Ice Cube has previously said he hopes the BIG3 will be a pipeline for players to get back in the NBA -- and so far, the plan has worked ... with Xavier Silas signing a contract with the Boston Celtics after an impressive stint in the BIG3. 

Tip-off for the 2018 BIG3 season starts tonight in Houston (and airs at 4:30 PM PT on FS1). 

Pistons' Eric Moreland I Don't Care LiAngelo Went Undrafted ... 'He'll Be Fine!!'

6/22/2018 2:39 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Pistons power forward Eric Moreland doesn't see a problem with LiAngelo Ball not getting picked in Thursday's NBA Draft ... telling TMZ Sports, if Gelo works hard enough -- it won't even matter!!

See, Moreland went undrafted himself back in 2014 ... and he turned out alright -- latching on with the Sacramento Kings for a couple seasons before playing 67 games in Detroit last year.

So, for Eric ... he could care less what happened to the middle Ball bro this week.

"It's OK, he'll come back," Moreland told us.

"I didn't get drafted, you know? He'll be there. He'll be fine."

There's more ... we're not sure who Moreland was with when we got him leaving Skybar Thursday night ... but she clearly wasn't a fan of Tristan Thompson ... telling us in TWO WORDS that she agrees with Draymond Green and Matt Barnes in their tiff with T.T.

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.

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