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Muhammad Ali's Daughter:

'He's Doing So Much Better'

'My Daddy's a Strong Man'

14 minutes ago BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Muhammad Ali's daughter tells TMZ Sports ... the boxing icon is "doing so much better" following a bout with pneumonia over the weekend ... but says she's not surprised by his quick recovery.

We spoke with Rasheda Ali-Walsh ... who tells us "My daddy is a strong man. He's so resilient and we're all very grateful and blessed."

Rasheda tells us all sorts of people have reached out to the family with kind words and prayers since 72-year-old Ali was hospitalized in Kentucky over the weekend. 

"When I see my dad, I'm gonna tell him about all the people who have sent their love," Rasheda says.

"I know it's gonna make him feel great to know all these people are thinking about him. He'll love it."

Ray Rice

CHARITY BLITZKRIEG

In Image Makeover Campaign

12/22/2014 10:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

1222_ray_janay_rice_family_gives_back_launch_2After months under the radar, Ray Rice is hitting the charity scene HARD -- bouncing from fundraisers to toy drives and other events (all on camera of course) ... in an effort to prove he's not a monster.

On Saturday, the couple hosted "Ray and Janay's Holiday Toy Drive" at Steiner Sports headquarters in New Rochelle, NY ... which happens to be Ray's hometown. 

We're told the couple handed out more than 150 toys to kids ... and then donated $10k to the Evelyn Sachs Steiner Home for Girls and the Jerome Wagner Youth Residence for Boys. 

Our sources tell us the event came together about a month ago. 

After the event, Ray and Janay went to a nearby housing project where Ray grew up -- and a rep tells us the couple "surprised a young mother and her three daughters with a box full of presents."

The cameras were rolling (of course) ... and Janay posted the footage on her Instagram account.

Just a few days earlier, the couple attended a Toys for Tots drive organized by his ex-teammate Torrey Smith. Ray made sure to speak to the media and asked the public for forgiveness. 

There's more ... Janay also posted a photo of Ray posing with a sick child during a recent hospital visit -- and included a message about how the running back is focused on "giving back."

Sources close to the couple tell us ... Ray has made it clear to friends and associates that he hopes his charity work will help to save his image and get him back into the good graces of the public. 

So the question is ... is it working? 

Vanessa Bryant

Taps 'Project Runway' Designer

... For Xmas Card Dress

12/22/2014 9:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

1222-bryant-family-instagram-01Vanessa Bryant takes her Christmas card photo VERY SERIOUSLY -- so seriously in fact that Mrs. Mamba tapped one of the top designers from "Project Runway" to make her dress. 

Kobe Bryant's wife called upon Michael Costello -- who has designed clothes for huge stars like Beyonce and Ariana Grande

The two got together and picked out Michael's signature "Black Widow" gown -- which comes with a $6,500 price tag!!

Vanessa and Michael had flirted with a bronze version of the dress during an earlier fitting ... but ultimately, decided to go with black. 

Sources close to the situation tell us ... Vanessa has always been passionate about Xmas cards. As one person put it, "She takes great pride and puts great thought into celebrating because she's very religious."

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LeBron James Jr.

BALLIN' OUT

At 4th Grade Hoops Tourney

12/22/2014 7:55 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF



LeBron James' kid is gooooood. 

9-year-old LeBron James Jr. -- aka Bronny -- made some INSANE highlight reel shots at the 2014 Ronald Searles Holiday Classic in Houston.  

Bronny is one of the top ranked 4th graders in the country (yes, they rank 4th graders) ... and it's obvious why -- the kid can shoot, dribble and pass like ... well, like his dad. 

LeBron tweeted about his son's performance after the game ... saying, "Proud of you son! Great job in Houston and congrats on bringing home 1st place."

Notre Dame Football

'It's Been a Terrible Year'

... Says Regis Philbin

12/22/2014 7:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Regis Philbin is sad. 

And he's sad because Notre Dame sucked this season. 

The ND alum -- and legendary superfan -- was expressing his disappointment in the Fighting Irish outside of Craig's this weekend ... telling TMZ Sports, "It's been a terrible year."

Philbin thinks the whole thing went downhill after ND (6-0 at the time) lost to Florida State in the final seconds of the game back in October ... and then lost 5 of their next 6 games. 

"They lost the game in the last 30 seconds and they never got over it." 

Regis told us he still likes head coach Brian Kelly because he "tries hard" ... but say,s, "I don't know what they're problem is."

FYI -- despite the 1-5 skid at the end of the season, Notre Dame will play LSU in the Music City Bowl ... but check out the video, clearly Regis isn't impressed. 

Matt Barnes

I'm With the Boss

Parties with Rick Ross

12/22/2014 7:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Photos

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Matt Barnes rebounded from a crappy night on the court by hanging with Rick Ross and a bunch of other hip hop stars at a huge Hollywood after party.

Barnes was in the VIP at Supper Club for Rick's performance Saturday night in Hollywood. The Clippers star chilled with Rick, Wiz KhalifaMally Mall, and Ty Dolla Sign. Famous booty model Rosa Acosta and singer Anjali World (daughter of Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé) were also there.  

Earlier that night ... Matt put up a goose egg in 26 minutes on the floor in the Clippers game against the Bucks, but still won ... 106-102. 

Ricky Rozay makes everything better.

'Kardashians' Star

No Evidence Khloe's Dating NBA Star

12/22/2014 6:27 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Video

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She's hooked up with jocks before, but the new rumors about Khloe Kardashian dating NBA star Robin Lopez seems like BS ... so says Kim's BFF Jonathan Cheban

Cheban -- who's super tight with all of the Kardashian sisters -- was leaving Craig's in West Hollywood last night when we asked about reports that Khloe and Robin have become an item.

"I was with her yesterday, I didn't hear anything about that," Cheban told us. 

The "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star said he wouldn't be shocked if Khloe eventually began dating another famous athlete ... explaining that a relationship with a normie can get pretty boring for someone on Khloe's level. 

As for Robin, he also shot down the rumors this weekend ... and says the media made up the story. 

"Obviously they were looking for two people with a lot of influence on popular culture, on the youth, and they were looking for two movers and shakers," Lopez said.

"Frankly, I’m not surprised they came up with my name."

Giancarlo Stanton

I'm Gonna Spend My $325 Mil On ...

12/22/2014 6:06 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

122214_giancarlo_stanton_launchHe's 25-years-old ... he just signed the largest player contract in the history of U.S. team sports ... so how's Miami Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton gonna spend his $325 million??? 

He's got some ideas. 

Stanton was on his way into Greystone in L.A. this weekend with his crew (we're guessing he covered the bill) and talked to the All-Star outfielder about his complex spending plan.

Check out the clip ... though we're guessing Stanton may have been joking ... based on the fact he popped a $20k bottle of champagne hours after he signed the contract last month. 

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Michael Phelps

Alleged 'Ex-Girlfriend' Is

Ready for Her Porno Close-Up

12/22/2014 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

121914_taylor_chandler_launchThe formerly intersex woman who claims she was nailing Michael Phelps ... is on the verge of getting nailed in her first porno ... TMZ Sports has learned.

Taylor Lianne Chandler is in Hollywood fielding an offer from Vivid Entertainment honcho Steve Hirsch -- who tells us he wants her to star in one of those ever popular porn parodies.

Taylor made headlines last month when she claimed she and Michael dated after meeting on Tinder. You'll recall ... Taylor was born with male and female organs, but says she's since had surgery. 

We're told the proposed porn would be loosely based on their alleged relationship. Think, "When Harry Met Sally" ... with way more nudity. And real sex.

We got Taylor on her way into Vivid HQ, and she told us she's still in the "wine and dine me" stage of negotiations. As for compensation ... she's more interested in back end, than getting huge money up front.

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Usain Bolt

Catch Me If You Can

Crushes 3 Parties, One Day

12/22/2014 12:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1221-usain-bolt-club-bottle-service-01Usain Bolt deserves a gold medal for what he pulled this weekend -- hitting up 3 massive parties in one day ... and doing it in a style worthy of the Fastest Man on Earth.

Bolt went on a tear through Kingston, Jamaica on Saturday -- ending the night at the Fiction Fantasy nightclub bash where he booked up the entire VIP section for himself and his entourage.

Sources at the club tell TMZ Sports ... Bolt bought more than 20 bottles of champagne for everyone partying in VIP.

Our Kingston sources say Bolt started the day at Maiden Cay -- an off shore party, only accessible by boat. Hours later Boltfest moved to downtown Kingston at the Cabana City outdoor party ... and finally crossed the finish line at Fiction Fantasy.

UB -- now unbeatable off the track too.

Jameis Winston

Did NOT Break Student Code ...

In Alleged Rape Case

12/21/2014 3:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Jameis Winston is walking away clean from the alleged rape case -- already cleared criminally -- he's now been cleared of any wrongdoing as far as Florida State University is concerned.

Former Florida State Supreme Court Justice, Major Harding ... announced FSU's star QB did not violate the university's student code of conduct. Harding oversaw a hearing earlier this month where Winston came face-to-face with the woman who claims he sexually assaulted her in 2012.

Harding says there was insufficient evidence to prove Winston violated the campus' code. The FL State Attorney also cited a lack of evidence for not charging Winston following a criminal investigation.

The alleged victim has until Jan. 13 to appeal Harding's ruling. Winston and the Seminoles are playing Oregon in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

'Top Chef' Winner

I Trash Talked Gronkowski

But He Loved My Sausage

12/21/2014 8:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

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Patriots stud Rob Gronkowski isn't afraid to mix it up with football fans ... even when they're contestants on a reality show he's judging.

Gronk was a guest critic on this week's episode of "Top Chef: Boston" ... but not all the cooks were star struck ... 'cause chef George Pagonis tells TMZ Sports he got in Gronk's face and told him exactly how he felt about the Pats. Hint ... George is not a fan.  

Chef P says, "I never really cared for any Boston teams.  I've spent a lot of time in New York, and I'm a big Redskins fan."

Still, razzing Gronk when he controls your culinary fate doesn't seem wise. Pagans says ... "I couldn't let my team down and not speak up." He adds Gronk was totally cool with his verbal jabs.

Obviously, it didn't affect his judging because Chef Pagonis cooked the winning dish -- a pork and veal sausage. 

Pigskin and sausage ... the key to Gronk's heart.

Muhammad Ali

Pneumonia Lands Champ in Hospital

12/20/2014 8:38 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Muhammad Ali is in a hospital battling pneumonia -- but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

72-year-old Ali was admitted to an undisclosed hospital early Saturday morning ... according to a rep for the boxing legend. The rep says it's a mild case of pneumonia which doctors caught early -- so he's not expected to have a very long hospital stay.

Earlier this month ... TMZ Sports got pics of "The Greatest" hanging with Snoop Dogg at Nevada's high school championship game. Snoop's son and Ali's grandson were teammates at Bishop Gorman high. 

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