LeBron James Wishy-Washy on COVID-19 Vaccine ... Wants to Keep Decision Private

LeBron James was just asked if he would get a COVID-19 vaccine when he's able to -- and rather than firmly come out and say yes, he waffled ... which is startling.

King James did a 20-minute-plus interview Sunday for NBA All-Star Weekend ... and at one point he was asked how he's been able to stay COVID-free and relatively healthy throughout the pandemic. Bron chalked it up to luck and faith ... saying he just follows the protocols handed down by the league to a T, going straight home after he plays in games/practices.

Another 'rona question was raised at the very end of the interview ... a reporter asked if he himself would get vaccinated whenever that became an option, and whether he'd encourage everyone in the Players Association to do the same. He also referenced Adam Silver's recent remark that he was gonna leave it up to NBA players and not make it mandatory.

Silver said ... "My hunch is that most players ultimately will choose to get vaccinated. They have to make personal decisions at the end of the day."

In response, LeBron said this about his own decision on the vaccine ... "That's a conversation that, you know, my family and I will have. And, probably pretty much keep that to a private thing." He said he was aware of Silver's comments, but insisted it was something to be discussed among the family and not in public, and that's where he was going to keep it.

That's fascinating, considering LeBron is by far one of the most influential people in the world ... and perhaps the second or third most influential African-American. The fact he's wishy-washy on whether he'll get it speaks volumes, and could well influence others in the community.

Of course, vaccinations have been a major issue in the Black community ... as many simply don't trust it -- due to a number of historical atrocities perpetuated onto African-Americans and other factors as well. But, many prominent Black role models have been trying to convince the Black community this vaccine is safe and worth taking ... like the late, great Hank Aaron.

Before he passed away in late January, Aaron made a point to get the vaccine and to do so publicly, as he wanted to put out the right message and have Black Americans follow suit. He said, in part ... "I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this. ... It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country." LeBron feels differently, it seems.

Bethenny Frankel Blasts Meghan Markle's 'Plight' ... Hours Before Oprah Tell-All

Meghan Markle's struggles adjusting to Royal life are getting ZERO sympathy from someone in the 'Real Housewives' world ... that'd be Bethenny Frankel, who's got choice words for the Duchess.

The 'RHONY' star absolutely shredded Meghan Sunday just hours before her tell-all interview with Oprah was set to air on CBS ... invoking Justin Timberlake in telling her to take her woe-is-me moment and basically shove it.

Bethenny writes, "Cry me a river...the plight of being a game show host, fairly unknown actress, to suffering in a palace, w tiaras & 7 figure weddings for TWO WHOLE YEARS to being a household name w @Oprah on speed dial, fetching 7 m for interviews, hundreds of millions in media deals. Thinking face #MARRY"

On Saturday, Bethenny aired out even more of her grievances over the coverage the interview was getting ... saying, "Not since @MonicaLewinsky interview, have people been obsessed with a young female interview like this #MARRY interview. Remember the famous lip gloss?"

Someone replied to her with a collage of headlines past about how her staff had reportedly been catty towards her right out the gate ... and that's what set Bethenny off anew.

She continued with her tirade, going on to say she gives Harry a break here -- as she doesn't feel he's the one pulling the strings for all this press the couple is now receiving ... something he's repeatedly said he's not a big fan of in light of what happened to his mother, Diana.

BF ended her thoughts with one last apparent shot at Meghan, writing ... "I chose reality tv, to work towards making $, to be scrutinized & criticized. I took the trappings & the beatings along with it. It’s a rose w petals & thorns. People beg to enter the often toxic institution I signed up for. That WAS the life I chose. You can’t play stupid & smart."

Tell us how you really feel, Beth.

Bath & Body Works Massive Brawl Breaks Out Between Employees & Woman

A brawl broke out at a Bath & Body Works in Arizona, where the employees of all people are the ones who stepped in ... and proceeded to whoop on a woman.

Check out this insane fight that broke out over the weekend at the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale -- where a middle-aged white woman is said to have been causing a ruckus inside with another customer before s*** hit the fan.

The person who shot this claims the white lady was standing too close to another customer and they started arguing ... something she says the workers tried deescalating.

At some point, somebody put hands on the other ... and all hell broke loose. You see an employee start to go at it with the blonde woman, while her co-worker rushes over to help ... knocking everyone over in the process. Not too far away, another woman gets into it with yet another worker.

Eventually, a male employee steps in to break it up -- and he orders the women who were fighting to get the heck out of their establishment. The blonde lady tells him to stop touching her, and then says she ain't leaving 'til she can get her purse amid the commotion.

Somebody else got a different angle, and it looks like they shot some of what precipitated this. Sure enough, this older white woman is indeed arguing with an African-American woman ... and you hear some politically charged rhetoric. The African-American woman calls the white woman "trailer park trash" ... and it's downhill from there.

Unclear if this had anything to do with it -- but we should note, the main character here doesn't seem to be wearing a face covering. We reached out to this location and BBW HQ as well ... the Scottsdale store had no comment, no word back yet from corporate.

Jerry Springer Better Late Than Never ... Sings Elvis' 'Love Me Tender' Again

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JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!
TMZ.com

Jerry Springer revisited his pre-pandemic tradition of singing a famous Elvis tune for the King's birthday -- albeit a couple months late ... but still as incredible as ever.

The famed talk show host popped into Matteo's Trattoria Saturday night in Boca Raton, FL -- where he and a group of pals were sitting near a makeshift stage ... where management had booked a singer for the night to croon to old-timey songs, like Sinatra and whatnot.

We're told that toward the end of the guy's set and as it was nearing closing time, Jerry got up and spoke with the singer ... and then got on the mic himself to belt out EP's 'Love Me Tender.' As he sang, the crowd hooted and hollered ... clearly impressed with his pipes.

While the crowd might've been surprised over Jerry's smooth, silky voice ... it's actually nothing new. The guy stays singing 'LMT' ... or at least he was for years in honor of Elvis' birthday, Jan. 8. He did it back to back in 2016 and 2017 at the same joint in Dallas.

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... AND WE'LL NEVER PART

Looks like he took his show on the road this time around ... and got to flex in the middle of the pandemic. As you know, restaurants are opening up all over the country -- so that might be why we hadn't seen this in January ... when JS usually pays tribute.

Good to see ya back on the stage, Jerry ... Jerry, Jerry!

Wayne Gretzky Chokes Up at His Father's Funeral ... Delivers Emotional Eulogy

Wayne Gretzky was fighting back tears at his father's funeral this weekend -- especially during an emotional eulogy ... where he remembered the man as the ultimate hockey dad.

The NHL legend delivered remarks Saturday at the St. Mark's Anglican Church in Brantford, Ontario shortly after laying Walter Gretzky to rest. Wayne stepped up to the podium in front of a socially distanced crowd in the pews ... and reminisced about Walter's life. The service was limited to family.

He recounted a couple different stories that were pretty heartwarming -- one where Wayne says Walter insisted on going to a hockey tournament when he was young, this despite the fact his wife and Wayne's mom, Phyllis, was due to give birth at any moment.

Sure enough, she popped while he was away with Wayne ... and as people gave Walter a hard time about missing the birth of his own child, he hoisted up the first-place prize that Wayne and co. had won, and proudly said ... "Yes, but we got the trophy."

Wayne went on to remember Walter as an incredibly proud Canadian and hockey's #1 fan. He said he loved his kids and grandkids ... and was always looking to give back to Wayne's fans as he grew in his career.

WG said Walter was not afflicted with COVID, and his death had nothing to do with the virus. He reiterated his dad suffered a bad hip injury as a result of his Parkinson's ... and was already in declining health. He thanked the crowd and those afar for sending food and well-wishes as the family stayed with him for 21 straight days in the hospital until he eventually passed Thursday.

Toward the end of his speech, Wayne choked up and walked off stage ... and the audience gave him a slight round of applause.

Walter was 82.

RIP

Rush Limbaugh One Final Boast on Death Certificate ... 'Greatest Radio Host Of All Time'

Rush Limbaugh is the G.O.A.T. when it comes to radio hosts, and if you don't believe that ... just read his death certificate.

According to the document, obtained by TMZ, the conservative firebrand host's occupation is right there in black and white -- "GREATEST RADIO HOST OF ALL TIME." That's some pretty high praise.

It's high praise for Rush that many, including his pal Donald Trump, would agree with -- but of course, there's probably those who'd strongly disagree.

THE PASSING OF RUSH
NewsTalk 1290

Remember, Trump presented Rush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his achievements in radio -- but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis got some pushback when he ordered flags lowered to honor Limbaugh after his death last month of lung cancer.

We know what you're thinking -- Rush probably had a big fan in the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office who put that title on the death certificate.

However, his wife, Kathryn Limbaugh, is listed as the person providing the info for the document, so it's most likely her handiwork.

"The Rush Limbaugh Show" was nationally syndicated, starting in 1988, and made him one of the premier voices in the conservative ranks, as well as one of the most listened to radio personalities.

However, his success in radio came with a lot of controversies ... his views on race, feminism, sexual consent, climate change and LGBTQ+ issues -- just to name a few -- were widely criticized and made him one of America's most polarizing figures.

Stars and Scars You Be the Judge

It's war between Harry and Meghan and Buckingham Palace, and Texas and Mississippi say 'see ya later!' to COVID restrictions. So, we gotta ask ...

The Battle Royal ... Who Ya Got?

Prince Harry And Prince William In 3 Years ...

Chris Harrison's Apology ...

Bring Harrison Back To 'Bachelor' ...

Rep. Swalwell's Lawsuit V. Trump ...

Banned Dr. Seuss Books ...

Tekashi69 Says He Didn't Snitch ...

Lola Bunny's Curves ...

TX, MS Dropping COVID Restrictions ...

'Nomadland' Sound Mixer Michael Wolf Snyder Dead at 35 ... Pandemic May Have Triggered Suicide

The sound mixer from the award-winning movie, "Nomadland," has died after taking his own life ... and his father thinks the coronavirus pandemic may have played a part.

Michael Wolf Snyder had not been heard from for several days, when his dad, psychiatrist Dr. David Snyder, went to check on him in his Queens apartment. David discovered his son's body.

Dr. Snyder says his son had battled severe depression for years.

35-year-old Michael, who went by his middle name, Wolf, had achieved a lot professionally. In addition to the Golden-Globe winning "Nomadland," he worked on the Emmy-nominated show, "Good Omens." He also worked on the 2017 sci-fi flick, "Imitation Girl," and the 2018 movie, "The Amaranth."

Frances McDormand, the star of "Nomadland," said, "Wolf recorded our heartbeats. Our every breath. For me, he is 'Nomadland.'"

Wolf worked as a boom operator and sound mixer with filmmaker Chloe Zhao for "The Rider," and Zhao said, "I always looked at Wolf after each take. I didn't wear headphones on the set so I heavily relied on Wolf to be my ears. He would nod at me with a happy grin, or tears in his eyes, or sometimes he would discreetly signal, 'one more.'"

Wolf's dad said he didn't know how deeply his son had been struggling with depression, saying, "I am a psychiatrist who was not able to save his own son, partly because he would not share the depth of his pain," adding, "For most people, this is an illness that waxes and wanes over the years. I'm sure it was difficult for Michael that he spent most of the last year alone in his small, Queens apartment, being responsible about dealing with the coronavirus." He went on ... "In spite of this, we all believed he was doing well, and for most of this past year I think he was."

Wolf was 35. RIP

Meghan Markle Reportedly Kind to Kate ... In Oprah Interview

Meghan Markle is taking off the gloves in her highly-anticipated/feared interview with Oprah, but she reportedly is nothing but nice to a Royal with whom she had issues ... Kate Middleton.

Markle has only kind words for her sister-in-law, according to NY Post sources.

The Palace reportedly is overwrought with worry over Sunday's sit-down, and an obvious concern is the now widely-reported rift between Meghan and Kate. There have been numerous stories about Kate being reduced to tears over Meghan's alleged demands revolving around Meghan's wedding.

Nevertheless, The Post says Meghan is nice to both Kate and William. William and Harry have had a fractured relationship for a while now ... when Harry left England we're told the 2 were barely speaking.

THE TIME IS RIGHT
CBS

The interview, however, justifies cause for concern among the Royal Fam. Meghan goes after The Firm hard, saying she was silenced, lorded over and smeared.

Queen Elizabeth will go before the cameras in England hours before Meghan's interview airs, asking her country for unity. It may be a futile effort, because the buzz is the Oprah interview amounts to a declaration of war.

UFC Fighter Calls Opponent 'Woman Beater' During Match ... Opponent's Manager Says 'Reckless Slander'

UFC fighter Tim Elliott was multi-tasking Saturday night as he pounded away at his opponent, accusing him of beating his ex-girlfriend ... something the opponent's manager calls "reckless slander."

Elliott was dominating the flyweight fight to an empty arena, when Elliott appeared to say, "I heard you choked your girl in 2018. Are you a woman beater? She messaged me." The opponent, Jordan Espinosa, responded, "Did she? You don't know the whole story." Elliott shot back, "I know enough," to which Espinosa said, "You don't know s***."

Elliott won the fight by unanimous decision. When it was over, Espinosa's manager, Bryan Hamper, called the accusation, "Reckless slander."

After the fight, Elliott told reporters, "I didn't say that for anybody else to hear, because I don't know the whole story." He says he was messaged texts and photos between Espinosa and a woman and there were photos of the woman with choke marks around her neck. He added, "... it's not something I wanted the whole world to hear. That was supposed to be between him and I. I didn't know the mic was going to pick up on it."

Police Rescue Cops Jump in Icy Lake to Save Dog!!!

This is a Ted Lasso-type feel-good moment, as 2 cops saved a dog that fell in icy waters.

The rescue went down Thursday in the village of Manteno, Illinois, when the PD got a call, "There's a big dog in the water about four houses down."

That canine's a lucky dog, thanks to officers Quincey Spears and Jessica Rourke, who answered the call and sprung into action. They got a paddleboat to get near the struggling K-9, using a pole to help reach the dog, to no avail.

So, their only remaining option was to jump in the frigid water, along with a few good Samaritans, to save the pooch.

Officer Spears explained what happened ...  "When he was walking on the ice, he went into a spot where the sun was beating down on the ice, and it actually potentially melted that part of the ice, which the dog fell in."

The dog is safe and sound, and the 2 cops ... they're ok as well, and might we add, a little heroic to boot!

Body Cam Video Fresno Man Killed by Cops Using Chokehold

CRUSHED UNDER PRESSURE

The Fresno Police Dept. was ordered to release body cam video that graphically shows yet another chokehold-related homicide ... and it's extremely hard to watch.

The incident occurred in 2017 ... Joseph Perez had suffered a mental breakdown and police were called to help. As cops tried restraining the 41-year-old, you hear him scream, "I can't breathe," and "Let me redeem myself."

The officers tell him to calm down and breathe, but Perez is clearly fighting for air and it becomes a vicious cycle -- the longer his airway is restricted, the more agitated he becomes and the officers use his resistance to justify more compression.

Paramedics arrived and told a cop to sit on the backboard they brought to carry Perez into the ambulance. The backboard was placed on Perez's back as his head was face down on the ground.

Perez died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Perez's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers, the City and County of Fresno and the ambulance company.

Neil Gehlawat, the lawyer for the Perez family, says, "Compression asphyxia during restraining is all too common, and we hope to expose this pervasive tactic used by law enforcement officers across the country."

The Sheriff's Dept. reportedly declined comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit.

Gorilla Glue Woman Imposter Shut Down by GoFundMe After Posting 'Hospital Bill'

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Tessica Brown tried getting out of another sticky situation by crowdfunding ... or at least that's what an imposter had people believing before GoFundMe dropped the hammer.

So get this ... someone tried to capitalize on Tessica's Gorilla Glue fame and misfortune by posting a GoFundMe page pretending to be her. The imposter even posted what appears to be a $186k hospital bill.

As you can see, the imposter claimed the hospital was charging her for her medical bills after it found out she was raising money online. This person even roped in Tessica's real GoFundMe dilemma ... ya know, the alleged fraud claims that were later debunked.

The imposter's "bill" looked legit enough to dupe some peeps, 'cause the account raised around $500.

Don't worry, the imposter never got the dough because a rep for GoFundMe tells TMZ it suspended the account as soon as it got wind of it.

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A HAIRY SITUATION
@im_d_ollady/Tik Tok

The fake account was sketchy to begin with ... 'cause the imposter's goal was only $25k but the bill totaled nearly $200k.

Tessica's manager, Gina Rodriguez, tells TMZ ... she's seen several fake Twitter and GoFundMe pages trying to piggyback off Tessica. She warns, if you see one, DO NOT donate because Tessica doesn't need money -- she's doing well now, thanks to deals and her daycare and dance biz ventures.

Celebrity Scramble Guess Who!

Hidden within this stretched-out snap is an English actor who began his career in the early 2000s.

Since his start this famous fella has been in a number of films, his best work includes "The Night Of", "Rogue One", "Nightcrawler", "Venom" and so much more!

He is currently nominated for best actor at this year's Critics' Choice Awards for his role in the film "Sound of Metal".

Use the clues above and put your celebs skills to the test by seeing if you have what it takes to figure out which star has been hiding in this warped photo!

Jeff George Jr. 'Willing To Put Life On The Line' ... To Follow In Dad's NFL Footsteps

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PAVIN' MY OWN WAY
TMZSports.com

Jeff George Jr. says he's so hellbent on following in his famous dad's NFL footsteps ... he's straight-up willing to sacrifice his life for an opportunity to play in the league.

The oldest son of the legendary quarterback broke it all down for TMZ Sports ... saying he's telling NFL scouts he's that committed to being The Shield's next great QB.

"They're getting a guy that's willing to put his life on the line for this," 24-year-old George Jr. said of what NFL teams will get from him if they draft him. "I don't want to do anything else."

"I put my blood, sweat, tears into this game. I love it more than anything."

JG2 started his college football career at Illinois and then went to Michigan before landing at Pitt, where he only played in 2 games in the 2019 season. He's 6'3", 220 lbs and just like his dad, he's got a cannon for an arm.

COVID screwed up his plans to show out in 2020 -- but George Jr. is now trying to showcase his skills for NFL teams at Brandon Marshall's House of Athlete combine in South Florida.

Look, Jeff has been around football his entire life and he knows what it takes to succeed in the NFL ... all he's looking for is a shot.

His message to teams is simple ... "You're gonna get a guy who's the hardest worker in the building, super competitive and ultimately has a drive to win."

Of course, Jeff's dad, Jeff George Sr., was the #1 overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft -- and played 13 seasons in the league, mostly for the Colts and Falcons. He led the NFL in passing yards in 1997.

Jeff Sr. has also offered up some advice with his son, which he shared for us -- check out the clip.

Tim Matheson Melania Tweet Backlash Died Down ... Not Pursuing Death Threat Charges

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Tim Matheson says he's no longer getting death threats or money demands from the person who was pissed about his tweet at Melania Trump ... so he's moving on with his life.

We broke the story ... the "Animal House" star filed a report with the LAPD last month claiming he got a series of escalating messages from someone online ending with the threat, "pay me big bucks or I will kill you."

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Tim hasn't had any further communication with the suspect since contacting police, so he doesn't want to pursue charges against the unidentified suspect.

We're told the case is now closed.

As we reported ... Matheson tweeted in January -- shortly after Joe Biden's inauguration -- that it was wonderful to have a First Lady who can speak English.

He apologized days later and admitted his tweet was "stupid, ignorant,& foul," but obviously some of the backlash he got was too much to ignore.

Fortunately ... it seems cooler heads have prevailed.

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