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Steve Francis

Rappers Vow to Get Chain Back

... From 'Stupid Ass' Thief

3/3/2015 11:14 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0303-stevie-launch-07Steve Francis can rest easy about his missing chain -- 'cause the rappers who were performing on the night he got jacked tell TMZ Sports they're on MISSION to get the necklace back to the NBA star. 

We broke the story ... Francis was on the stage at a Sauce Twinz concert in Houston this weekend when some guy snatched the chain right off his neck

Now Sauce Diddy -- who manages the Sauce Twinz (and was wearing the red backpack at the concert) -- tells us the guys feel terrible that it happened at their show ... and want to do everything in their power to make it right. 

"Steve is good people," Sauce Diddy tells us ... "He's going to get his chain back. I'm going to make sure of it. One way or another."

Diddy is adamant the crook is NOT affiliated with the Sauce Twinz -- he's just a "random stupid ass" -- but says Steve didn't exactly do the best job of protecting himself that night. 

"He must have been drunk. He was mumbling on the mic and bumping into people. At one point, one of my artists tried to get Steve to leave the stage."

When asked if cops were involved in the chain-hunt, Sauce Diddy told us ... "Nobody's calling the police. We're gonna find it. We're gonna get it back."

50 Cent

Betting $1.6 Mil On Floyd

'He Can't Lose'

3/3/2015 10:28 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

How much does confidence cost? If you're 50 Cent, about $1.6 million ... 'cause that's how much the hip-hop star says he's going to bet on his old frenemy Floyd Mayweather Jr. to beat Manny Pacquiao.

50 and his G-Unit runnin' mate Tony Yayo sat down with "The Breakfast Club" this morning -- when Charlamagne Tha God asked Fiddy for his pick for the mega-fight in May.

"Champ 'gon smoke em ... it's gonna look like [the fight] was pumped up for no reason."

So why such a big bet? 50 says he spoke with Floyd at the Chris Brown concert last month -- the first time they've spoken in a while -- and says Mayweather is SUPER focused. 

It's interesting ... considering 50 bashed the hell out of Mayweather on social media last year ... ripping on everything from his spending habits to his reading ability. 

But $1.6 million buys a hell of a lot of olive branches. 

Pats Owner Robert Kraft

Front & Center

For Netanyahu Speech

3/3/2015 8:34 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0302-robert-kraft-c-span-twitterNew England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is sitting front and center in the U.S. House chamber to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Kraft is sitting directly behind Netanyahu's wife, Sara ... while her husband addresses Congress about why he believes Iran is a nuclear threat. 

The speech has become a controversial issue in Washington -- with several members of Congress boycotting the speech. 

But Kraft clearly wanted to make a statement ... which isn't too shocking considering Kraft's connection to Israel. 

As we previously reported, Kraft not only sponsors the Israeli Football League ... but recently produced a documentary about the country. 

Steve Francis

VIOLENT CHAIN SNATCHING

At Houston Rap Show [Video]

3/3/2015 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0303-stevie-launch-07NBA legend Steve Francis was the victim of a violent chain snatching at a rap show in Houston this weekend ... and TMZ Sports has footage of the brazen attack. 

The 38-year-old, 3-time NBA All-Star was onstage with the Sauce Twinz -- a Houston rap duo -- when someone crept up on the unsuspecting Francis and tried to rip his gold chain right off his neck. 

Problem is ... the chain didn't pop -- and Francis was dragged down to the floor where the culprit continued to yank on the necklace while the discombobulated NBA star tried to figure out what was going on. 

Sources tell us the guy ended up removing the chain from Francis and booked it. 

We're also told police were NOT called to the scene. 

As for the perp, no word on his ID -- or if he's connected to the Sauce Twinz. 

We reached out to Francis and the Twinz for comment -- so far, no word back. 

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ESPN's Robert Flores

Nick Young Won't Hit Me

... Cause He Can't Hit Anything Lately

3/3/2015 7:27 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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ESPN anchor Robert Flores is DOUBLING DOWN in his beef with Nick Young -- firing even more shots at the Lakers star ... after Young threatened him on Twitter yesterday.

You know the backstory ... Flores trashed Nick's GF Iggy Azalea on the air by saying she's trying to "kill hip hop" -- so Nick blasted the guy on Twitter and said they'd "run into each other soon."

Well, Flores didn't seem scared when he went on the "Sedano and Stink" radio show last night -- and responded to Swaggy's cyber-tough talk. 

"If you look at his numbers, there is a 70% chance that -- if he takes a shot at me -- he's going to miss. I'm just looking at the numbers ... so I'm good."

Nick is shooting 36% from the field this year ... math jokes.

There's more ... Flores was asked how he'd react if Young went after his wife, to which he responded:

"Well, I don't think Swaggy wants to be making fun of my wife. She will put the paws on him. She's from down South ... and those Southern gals are not to be messed with. Take it from me."

Translation -- Flores ain't backin' down. 

Jon Stewart

Kicks Seth Rollins In the Balls!

3/3/2015 7:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

160 pounds of dynamite exploded right in Seth Rollins' bean bag Monday night ... when Jon Stewart delivered an effective low blow right in the middle of "Monday Night Raw."

Stewart had just finished berating Rollins in front of a live crowd in Newark, NJ -- the latest round of trash talk in their public spat

But when Rollins decided enough was enough and started roughing up "The Daily Show" host in the ring -- Stewart took advantage of a distraction ... and kicked Seth's balls up into his throat.   

Someone get that man some ice. 

NFL's Chris Johnson

WORKOUT 'TIL YOU PUKE!

(Or At Least Dry Heave!)

3/3/2015 6:47 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Here's NFL running back Chris Johnson working out SO DAMN HARD at an L.A. gym Monday, he went and dry-heaved in the parking lot ... and TMZ Sports has the video. 

Johnson was haulin' kettlebells outside of the Unbreakable Performance Gym in West Hollywood -- where trainers pushed him to the brink of hurl city. 

Now, we never saw Johnson actually blow chunks ... but he was close ... and eventually got back to the weights to finish his workout like the monster that he is.  

Fun Fact -- Unbreakable is same place where Diddy raced (and BEAT) NFL star Dashon Goldson in an uphill sprint last month! 

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Ronda Rousey

Could Beat Male Fighters

... Says UFC Announcer

3/3/2015 6:37 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

030215_bruce_buffer_launchRonda Rousey couldn't just BEAT male fighters ... but she'd easily be ranked in the Top 20 in her division if she was able to fight dudes ... so says UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer

To be fair, Buffer says he doesn't ever see the UFC signing off on a Ronda vs. Man fight ...  but says, "Quite frankly I'm sure she would do very well against at least half the division she's in which is the bantamweight."

For the record, the men's bantamweight division (135) is comprised of guys like T.J. Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.  

Still, Buffer says Rousey is a friggin' beast ... and "the most dominant fighting athlete in the world."

Fun Fact -- it took Bruce more time to announce Ronda on her way into the fight at UFC 184 ... that it did for Rousey to actually beat Cat Zingano. 

Michael B. Jordan

1st Pics As Apollo's Grandson

... In New Rocky Flick

3/3/2015 6:14 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Michael B Jordan New Rocky MovieApparently, patriotic trunks run in the family -- 'cause Michael B. Jordan was sporting Apollo Creed's famous shorts when he stepped in the ring to play A.C.'s grandson in the new "Rocky" flick ... and TMZ Sports has the 1st pics.    

Jordan was going toe-to-toe with real-life pro boxer Tony Bellew -- who plays a boxer named "Pretty Ricky" in the upcoming movie. 

The pics were taken on February 26th ... just a few days before hell broke loose on the set -- with Sylvester Stallone jumping in the ring to break up a REAL BRAWL that went down between Bellew and an actor playing one of his corner men.  

Reps for the studio tell us the fight never got physical -- multiple witnesses tell us otherwise.  

As for Apollo Creed himself ... he died in "Rocky IV." 

Sucks for Carl Weathers. 

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Jeremy Lin

Foot Race With Homeless Guy

... Wins

3/2/2015 4:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

030215_jeremy_lin_launchHere's video of 26-year-old professional athlete Jeremy Lin in a foot race with a 55-year-old homeless guy in L.A.

So the question ... who ya got?

It all went down over the NBA All-Star break -- Lin and some of his pals decided they would help out in the community by socializing with some of the less fortunate and serving up food. 

That's when one of the men decided he wanted to serve Jeremy -- and challenged the pro basketball player (who's 29 years his junior) to a foot race in the park.

Check out the video -- the man claimed he was "pretty quick for 55" and we gotta say, he moved pretty well against Lin. 

BTW -- props to Lin, who's been going above and beyond the call of duty to help out the less fortunate ever since he moved to L.A. The guy's a philanthropic force to be reckoned with. 

Sylvester Stallone

Busts Up Brawl

On Set of 'Creed'

3/2/2015 1:24 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0302-sylvester-stallone-rocky-7-tmz-01Rocky's not taking any mess on his set -- Sylvester Stallone had to bust up a very real brawl during filming of the latest Rocky flick, "Creed" ... TMZ has learned.

Sources close to production say things went ballistic in Aston, PA Monday when boxer/actor Tony Bellew -- who's playing "Pretty" Ricky -- dove out of the boxing ring, mid-scene, and began unloading on the guy playing his corner coach. It was NOT part of the scene.

Sly still has the eye of the tiger -- we're told the fight was broken up when he, and a few others, jumped in to pull the men apart.

It's not clear what prompted the fight, but we're told security threw everyone out. Unclear at this point, if anyone plans to press charges.update_graphic_red_bar2:10 PM PT -- A rep for the studio behind the movie tells us the incident never got physical. Multiple witnesses on the set tell us otherwise. 

Kevin Garnett

Drops More than $20,000

On 1,000 Ticket Giveaway

3/2/2015 12:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

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Kevin Garnett didn't get an employee discount when he bought 1,000 tickets to give away to fans for tonight's Timberwolves game ... dropping more than $20k of his own money, TMZ Sports has learned. 

After fans came out in force to attend KG's first game back in Minn. last week, the NBA legend decided to give back ... by hooking up 500 fans with a pair of tix for tonight's game. 

Smelled like a team-engineered publicity stunt ... but the V.P. of Communications for the T-Wolves assures us that Kev bought the tickets HIMSELF and paid FULL PRICE for all of 'em. 

The rep wouldn't say exactly how much KG spent ... but the cheapest seats go for $21-a-pop. 

$21 x 1,000 = $21,000.  Not cheap.

KG's career earnings?  $315,000,000+ ... so, he can afford it.

Still, pretty cool. 

Nick Young

Threatens ESPN Reporter

... Over Iggy Diss

3/2/2015 12:01 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0302_nick_young_iggy_robert_florez_tmz_instagramNick Young might not be making "SportsCenter's" top plays anytime soon ... 'cause the Lakers star just threatened an ESPN anchor after the guy dissed his GF Iggy Azalea on the air. 

For some reason, ESPN anchor Robert Flores fired a shot at Iggy during a segment called, "What Did We Learn?" ... saying: 

"We learned that according to the Lakers' Nick Young a dolphin recently tried to kill him. So Nick while dolphins are trying to kill you, your girlfriend is trying to kill hip hop ... let's call it even, ok?"

Needless to say, Swaggy P was PISSED and tweeted to Flores to let him know he's got a problem: 

"@RoFloESPN I'm pretty sure we going to run into each other soon."

Sounds like a threat. But Nick didn't stop there ...

"You job is to talk about sports not what me and my chick got going on," Young wrote ... adding, "so we got a problem."

ESPN and Flores have yet to comment about the situation. 

This isn't the first time Nick has sprung to Iggy's defense on social media ... he publicly took Snoop Dogg to task for dissing Iggy last year, and things were tense until Iggy's boss T.I. stepped in and squashed that beef.

Robert, if you know any huge rappers that owe you a favor ... now might be the time.

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