Lou Williams 6th Man Award Named After Me?! ... I'd Be Honored!!!


If the NBA wants to keep renaming awards after former players, Lou Williams would be thrilled to get picked for the Sixth Man trophy ... telling TMZ Sports it would be a "huge honor" if that happened.

The Association made a couple changes to its most prestigious awards last season ... officially naming the MVP award in honor of Michael Jordan, and giving Hakeem Olajuwon the same treatment for Defensive Player of the Year.

With that being said, Hawks star Trae Young believes the Sixth Man of the Year Award -- which goes to the best-performing player off the bench -- should be named after Lou Will, who thrived in that role and earned the trophy three times during his 17-year career.

When we talked to the 6th man himself at LAX this week, he made it clear he wouldn't decline ... but also gave a few suggestions of his own.

"That would be an honor," the 36-year-old said.

"If not me, Jamal [Crawford]. If not Jamal, Manu [Ginóbili]. I think we're three guys that champion that. We made it a lifestyle."

"I think we've changed the way people view it," Williams added. "We changed the way the players view it, most importantly."

Williams believes all three of them should be Hall of Famers as well (Ginóbili was inducted in 2022) ... saying they all "championed" and played an important role on their respective teams.

"I think the Hall of Fame is what you bring to the table and being the best at what you do in the realm of basketball. I think we all did that."

Williams also lets us know what's been on his agenda since he announced his retirement in June ... and basketball is still one of them.

Jayson Tatum I'm Sorry, Miss Jackson!!! Apologizes To Janet For Concert Postponement

The Celtics' closeout win over the Hawks on Thursday was apparently bittersweet for Jayson Tatum ... who admitted after the game he was kinda pissed it ultimately forced Janet Jackson to postpone one of her concerts.

Just after Boston took down Trae Young's squad in Game 6 of the Celts' playoff series with Atlanta, Tatum got on the courtside microphone ... and said he was sorry to Jackson.

If you're unfamiliar, because Boston didn't beat the Hawks in Game 5 ... the two teams had to return to State Farm Arena on the same night Jackson was supposed to perform as part of her "Together Again" tour. The decision was made to move her show to Friday night so the NBA playoff game could be played.

Tatum was clearly bothered by it all ... because after he helped the C's to a 128-120 win -- he told NBA on TNT, "I want to say an apology to the legend Janet Jackson."

"We were supposed to close out in Boston and she had to postpone her show. I hope she sees this. I apologize for that."

No word yet from Jackson on the matter ... but we're sure she appreciates the shoutout nonetheless.

As for where Tatum goes from here ... Boston's next series against the Sixers will begin on Monday -- leaving him plenty of time to potentially catch one of Jackson's three shows this weekend.

For more coverage, check out the TMZ Sports Podcast available on all podcast platforms.

Trae Young I Want Janet At Our Playoff Game!!! ... After Concert Schedule Mishap

Janet Jackson's schedule is wide open after her Atlanta concert got pushed back in favor of the Hawks' playoff game ... and Trae Young wants her to kill time by watching his team fight to stay alive against the Celtics!!

The legendary singer was slated to perform at the State Farm Arena as part of her "Together Again" tour on Thursday ... but the venue was accidentally double-booked along with Game 6 of the Hawks vs. Cs series, perhaps because many believed Boston would have handled business by now.

The final decision -- Jackson's concert was pushed back a day to Friday, and the Hawks will take on Jayson Tatum and the Celtics as planned on Thursday.

"All tickets for Thursday night's show will be honored for Friday night," Live Nation said of the Janet concert. "Refunds will be available at point of purchase for those who are unable to attend."

Young -- who forced Game 6 after an insane game-winning shot on Tuesday -- has little-to-no sympathy for the concert delay ... but the 24-year-old sees this as an opportunity for Ms. Jackson to come through.

"Sorry not sorry to this LEGEND," the 2-time All-Star tweeted. "Hope she can be at the game now!"

FYI, Thursday's game is a must-win for the Hawks if they want to keep their season alive and force a Game 7. The winner of the series will head to the semifinals against the Sixers.

No word on whether Janet will actually pull up to Game 6 ... but come on, everyone -- get her a courtside seat!!

Dejounte Murray Hawks Star Suspended 1 Game ... For Bumping Ref


2:24 PM PT -- Dejounte Murray's postgame run-in with a referee will cost him big time ... the NBA just announced it's suspended the Hawks star one game without pay over the bump.


The league said in a statement Monday afternoon it found Murray not only made "inappropriate contact" with an official ... but he also verbally abused the ref as well.


Murray will now not be able to suit up for Game 5 of the Atlanta vs. Boston series on Tuesday ... a big deal, since the Celtics currently lead, 3-1.

The NBA is investigating Hawks star Dejounte Murray for making contact with an official at the end of Game 4 against the Celtics Sunday in Atlanta ... and could be suspended as his team fights for their playoff lives.

As the game clock winded down in the fourth quarter at State Farm Arena, Murray and his teammates began leaving the court, but Dejounte made a detour, before heading for the locker room.

Check out the video ... Murray walks up to official Gediminas Petraitis, in his 8th season as an NBA ref, and appears to bump him with his chest. It's unclear if the contact was incidental.

Dejounte also appeared to say something to the ref, before starting to walk away. Seconds later, a visibly frustrated Murray turns around and starts pointing while yelling, ultimately having to be restrained by his teammates before leaving the court.

The Celtics took a commanding 3-1 series lead in the first round after defeating Atlanta 129-121 ... and will look to close out the series in Game 5 Tuesday in Boston.

And, they may have to do it without Murray. Per NBA rules, "intentional physical contact with an official" results in an automatic one-game suspension. Again, the question is, was it intentional?

Murray has been one of Atlanta's best players -- alongside superstar pg Trae Young -- averaging 25.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds through four contests against the C's. Losing Dejounte, one of their most potent offensive threats, would be a considerable blow.

Originally Published -- 7:26 AM PT

Marcus Smart Fined $25K For On-Court Altercation ... W/ Trae Young

Marcus Smart's on-court scuffle with Trae Young is gonna cost him ... 'cause the NBA just fined the Boston Celtics player $25K as a result of the altercation.

The two guards got into it with 1:25 left in the game at State Farm Arena on Saturday ... when Young drove to the basket and got fouled by Smart.

It appeared Young may have accidentally kicked Smart in the groin during the play -- and Smart didn't like it one bit.

After the whistle was blown, Smart got into Young's face ... and the two exchanged some heated words.

That's when Smart and Young took their beef to the hardwood ... as Smart pulled the Hawks guard down with him as he fell to the floor.

Both players' teammates and referees broke them up ... and Smart was ejected from the game, while Young received a technical.

On Monday, an NBA executive announced that Smart -- the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year -- was fined $25K for "initiating an on-court alteration and pulling" Young to the floor.

As for Trae ... it seems he got away with just a tech.

The Celtics did win the game, however ... and are currently ranked 2nd in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks, on the other hand, are down in 8th.

Nate McMillan Atlanta Hawks Fire Head Coach

Trae Young will have a new head coach ... the Atlanta Hawks have just fired Nate McMillan.

The team confirmed the coach's dismissal on Tuesday afternoon ... with general manager Landry Fields saying in a statement, "it's in the best interest of our team to move forward with another voice leading the way."

McMillan had been in control of the team since the 2020-21 season, when he took over as interim head coach. He piled up a record of 99-80 in his time as head man -- though ATL was just 29-30 under his leadership this year.

The team said Joe Prunty will take over for McMillan the rest of this season.

After that, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hawks are expected to take a long look at former Utah Jazz head coach Quinn Snyder for the full-time role.

McMillan's dismissal comes just weeks after reports surfaced that he and Young's relationship had been deteriorating ... following a conflict with the superstar in December.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Trae skipped a shootaround at the time to get treatment for shoulder soreness he was experiencing ... which rubbed McMillan wrong.

The coach eventually called the incident between him and the point guard a "miscommunication" ... but Young was clearly upset with the situation when he spoke about it all with reporters in the ensuing days.

The Hawks have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons under McMillan ... but the team has struggled all season and is currently in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Dejounte Murray Gifted Huge Box Of Chick-fil-A Polynesian Sauce ... Near Endless Supply!!

Atlanta Hawks

Dejounte Murray should be good on sauce from Chick-fil-A FOREVER, or at least through the NBA season ... 'cause the Hawks star was gifted an enormous box filled with Polynesian packets!

The Hawks guard got the surprise gift in the locker room right after the team's 132 to 100 win over the Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Of course, the NBA All-Star is obsessed with Chick-fil-A and their Polynesian sauce ... in fact, DJ was even eating CFA before the Hawks-Suns game.

Murray's love of the sauce is well known, so when rookie guard Adrian Griffin Jr. handed him a box wrapped with paper printed with IG messages from fans talking about his love of the sweet and sour sauce, DJ knew what was in the box.

"I already know what it is," Murray laughed, "Polynesian! Haha!"

And, unlike Karl-Anthony Towns roasting his teammate Anthony Edwards over his eating habits, it doesn't seem like anyone on the Hawks is bothered by DM's obsession with the sugary CFA sauces.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

It might be because Murray -- who joined Trae Young and the Hawks last June following a trade -- has been eating on the floor, averaging 21.2 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game.

With that being said, give him all the Polynesian he wants!

Lil Baby Apple Doesn't Fall Far From Jewelry Box 💎 Ices Out Son With 2 New Pendants!!!

Icebox Diamonds & Watches

Lil Baby strives to be the most fly rapper in the game and that mentality obviously trickles down to his own children!!!

The Atlanta rapper recently hit up Icebox Diamonds & Watches, his home away from home, to lace his 7-year-old son, Jason, with a couple of new diamond emblems modeled after a pair of Baby's pre-existing pieces.

Skylar Langfeldt of Icebox tells TMZ Hip Hop ... Jason's 4PF chain consists of more than 5 carats of VS diamonds with blue and green enamel accents -- a junior take on Baby's chain, which has 70+ carats!

The fresh father and son duo also plan to stunt at NBA games, as they frequent State Farm Arena for their hometown Atlanta Hawks ... and Skylar says they now have matching pieces to rep their team.

Jason's Hawks pendant sports 2 carats of diamonds and 25 grams of gold -- while his dad's has 10x the bling with 20 carats of diamonds, and 150 grams of white gold.

Instagram / @lilbaby

Baby's spoiling knows no bounds -- he's currently building the ultimate playroom where Jason can keep his chains ... and also play, we're guessing.

Boosie Badazz '24K' Dancing At Hawks Game Snags DeRozan Jersey!!!

Instagram / @mamaheliveagain2.0

Boosie Badazz had an absolute ball watching the Atlanta Hawks lose a nail-biter to the visiting Chicago Bulls last night ... and couldn't contain his excitement after DeMar DeRozan gave him his winning game jersey!!!

Boosie posted a video of himself getting down to Bruno Mars' "24K Magic" in the VIP hallways of State Farm Arena -- and also got the chance to meet Hawks' legend Dominique Wilkins ... who allegedly was very familiar with the Louisiana rapper's antics already!!!

The Lousiana rapper was sitting courtside with comedian Desi Banks -- giving him a front-row view of the wild finish where DeRozan's hail Mary airball landed right in the hands of his teammate Ayo Dosunmu to sink the game-winning layup as time ran out.

DeRozan walked away with 28 points and 6 boards -- and Boosie got the NBA experience of a lifetime.

He has a holiday film titled "Where's MJ?" dropping soon -- but Boosie's real life mimics a movie every day!!!

Hawks Announcer Bob Rathbun Back In The Broadcast Booth ... 2 Weeks After Medical Scare

Awesome news ... Hawks announcer Bob Rathbun is making his return to the broadcast booth on Monday night -- just 14 days after he suffered a terrifying medical emergency live on-air.

The 68-year-old revealed on Monday he'll be back on the microphone for Atlanta's game against Orlando at State Farm Arena in ATL ... saying in a tweet that his impending return to work felt "great."

Of course, back on Dec. 5, many wondered if he'd be able to broadcast another game this season ... after he horrifyingly passed out while previewing the Hawks' game against the Thunder for Bally Sports with Dominique Wilkins.

While Wilkins was talking, Rathbun seemed to lose consciousness -- and began convulsing. Bally Sports officials said he was rushed to the hospital ... but, thankfully, testing revealed he was suffering from nothing more than a bout with dehydration.

Rathbun spent several nights in the hospital as a precaution, but was eventually released. He told The Athletic last week that he couldn't wait to get back and call Hawks games ... saying, "This ain’t work. This is the NBA. This is so much fun."

Game starts in about an hour ... welcome back!!

Hawks Announcer Bob Rathbun Scary On-Air Medical Emergency ... Hospitalized


11:17 AM PT -- Bally Sports officials say Bob Rathbun's tests have all come back "very favorable" -- and he's "in great spirits." They added he's expected to be released from the hospital later Tuesday afternoon.


"Bob's health is of the utmost concern to Bally Sports and the Atlanta Hawks and he will return to the broadcast booth only after he is well rested and fully recovered."

Terrifying scene ahead of the Atlanta Hawks game on Monday night ... Bob Rathbun, the team's play-by-play announcer, suffered a frightening medical emergency while on air -- and needed to be rushed to the hospital.

Thankfully, however, the 68-year-old is now said to be doing better ... and is in "stable" condition.

Rathbun was previewing the Hawks' game against the Thunder for Bally Sports with Dominique Wilkins ... when he suddenly appeared to lose consciousness in his chair, and convulse uncontrollably.


Medical personnel raced to his side to tend to him before the cameras cut away.

According to Bally Sports officials, he was suffering from dehydration ... and was taken to a local medical facility. They added he's now both "stable" and "responsive."

Lauren Jbara filled in last-minute for Rathbun to call the game -- which the Hawks lost, 121-114.

Get well soon, Bob.

Originally Published -- 6:01 AM PT

T.I. & Son Domani It's a Family Affair!!! Announce Trap Takeover With ATL Hawks

T.I. has been performing at Atlanta Hawks' games for 10 years and for his next halftime performance, he's bringing his son Domani along as the father-son duo are bridging their Trap Museum brand with the team.

T.I. and Domani will perform their "Family Connect" single on November 23 when the Hawks face the Sacramento Kings ... and the State Farm Arena will be decked out for their presence.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

The Hawks will don their PEACH 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform ... and the home court will also reflect the unis.

“I’m a true Atlanta Hawks fan and have performed in State Farm Arena on numerous occasions, but this time it feels different being able to take the stage with Domani," T.I. said in a statement.

"The Hawks are off to a great start this season, hopefully, we can continue the momentum. I can’t wait to hit State Farm Arena on the 23rd and give the fans a memorable performance."

Ticket bundles for T.I.'s Hawks-Kings performance come with a courtesy ‘Trap Commandment CDIV (404)" t-shirt and a ticket to Trap Music Museum -- an artifact house T.I. has maintained for years, and uses to host exhibits from the likes of Outkast, Goodie Mob, Future and Gucci Mane.

Domani has been steadily building his hip hop career outside of trap music ... collaborating with fellow MCs Rapsody and D Smoke on his last album to carve out his sound ... and his older brother Messiah has officially entered the country music scene.

The Harris Family has their grand hustle in the bag!!! 🎶

Paolo Banchero Rips Murray For Saying Fame Changed Him ... During IG Beef

Paolo Banchero is responding to Dejounte Murray -- who torched the NBA rookie for allegedly changing after getting drafted first overall -- saying he's the "same humble kid" he's been.

The backstory. 19-year-old Banchero and 25-year-old Murray played in Isaiah Thomas' Pro-Am hoops tourney this weekend ... when Dejounte, guarded by Paolo, alley-ooped the ball to himself, and emphatically threw down a dunk.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

The Atlanta Hawks guard put the highlight on his IG ... captioning, "WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES!!!!!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 Disrespectful They Said….. 🤷🏽‍♂️ Yeahhhhh I KNOW!!!!!!!!""

Murray also wrote ... "You tried to flex that #1 pick s**t on me when I been rooting for you when you was a kid asking to rebound for me [Paolo]. Don’t get on this internet saying nothing… You changed from the humble kid you always was and I stand on real s**t boy and YOU KNOW!!!!!!!! You made it and changed and I lost all respect!!"

But, Murray didn't get the last word ... Banchero answered on social media, writing, "Same humble kid. Always vouched for u bro. Don't switch tha narrative for tha internet."

Now we're all caught up.

Chances are this isn't over ... Murray, who was traded to the Hawks in June, and Banchero, Orlando Magic forward, are both in the Southeast Division ... and will come face-to-face on the court this season.

Hawks-Magic rivalry heatin' back up ... stay tuned!

Vince Carter's Wife Terrified During Burglary At NBA Star's Home ... 911 Audio Reveals


Vince Carter's wife -- while hiding inside of her son's bedroom closet -- mortifyingly spoke with dispatchers as burglars ransacked the NBA legend's home earlier this month, new 911 audio, obtained by TMZ Sports, reveals.

The call is terrifying ... you can hear Sondi Carter pleading on the phone with cops to hurry to her place in Atlanta as she said people had broken in and were stealing things inside of it at around 11:50 PM on June 19.

"Oh, my God," she said on the call. "Oh, my God. Please, Lord, help me. Please, God, help me."

"Don't make a sound!" she added, appearing to speak to her children that were with her inside of the closet. "Don't make a sound!"

The call lasted roughly 10 minutes ... and throughout it, you can hear Sondi was understandably panicked and scared.

"Please, hurry up!" she told dispatch, whispering. "Please, hurry up! Please, hurry up!"

Eventually, cops made their way to the scene ... and while they said in police documents the suspects fled in an SUV before they could be apprehended, no one was injured.

Officers say Vince told them he believed close to $100,000 had been taken during the incident. No arrests have been made, cops say. An investigation is still ongoing.

Carter -- who played for the Atlanta Hawks in the last two seasons of his historic career -- had previously bought the Atlanta home back in 2020. He's yet to publicly comment on the burglary.

Dominique Wilkins Here's How To Fix The Broken Slam Dunk Contest ... I Know, I Won It Twice


Dominique Wilkins -- one of the greatest high flyers in NBA history -- says he knows how to fix the (broken) slam dunk contest, telling TMZ Sports superstars must participate ... just like he and Michael Jordan did back in the day.

We spoke with the Hall of Famer -- a 2x Slam Dunk champ known for his prowess as a dunker -- about why the dunk contest has fallen out of favor with NBA fans, and how he would fix it.

"Until you get star athletes, your best players who are athletic to get in the dunk contest," Wilkins said, continuing ... "It takes a lot away from it. You don't have that same pop -- that same energy."

'Nique then lamented about the old days ... when bonafide superstars, legends, entered the contest each and every year.

"When we did the dunk contest Michael [Jordan] myself, Dr. J, Larry Nance, you talking Spud [Webb] ... they wanted to know who the best was."

Of course, Dominique was part of the greatest and most memorable DC ever ... a showdown against MJ in 1988. Jordan won ... but it was controversial.

Wilkins says during his day the dunk contest set the tone for All-Star weekend, giving fans something to look forward to. But, Wilkins admits as of late, it's been less than stellar.

"The dunk contest raised the bar for All-Star weekend," he said. "It's been hard to watch as of late."

FYI, last year's contest featured Cassius Stanley, Anfernee Simons, and Obi Toppin, who won.

Nice players and super athletic guys ... but not exactly Ja Morant and Zion Williamson battling each other like MJ and DW.

Ultimately, Dominique thinks players are too worried about their image ... rather than just going out and putting on a show for the crowd.

"Guys look at it the wrong way," 'Nique said. "I don't want to get in it because maybe it'll affect my legacy."

Wilkins told us when he was going at it with Jordan, it wasn't about who won or lost, but rather two great players matching each other's will.

We also asked the Hawks legend if Atlanta's superstar point guard Trae Young can be the best player on a championship team despite recent criticism saying he can't.

"Trae's a special talent, and a special young man that loves the game of basketball," 'Nique said. "Anytime you don't win, there's always going to be that doubt, 'well, can he lead a team to a championship?'"

Wilkins says although the Hawks -- who made the Eastern Conference Finals last year -- seemingly regressed this season, he believes Ice Trae can lead his team to a chip.


We also talked to 'Nique about his new collab with NFT Genius ... they've partnered up to create a super exclusive, 1-of-1 BALLERZ NFT.

In addition to being able to bid on the unique piece of digital art, there are also a bunch of other cool prizes like signed memorabilia, meet and greets with the NBA legend, and rack NFT packs like NBA Topshot, UFC Strike and NFL All Day.

And, the best part ... we're told some proceeds will benefit KultureCity, a non-profit organization that helps people with "invisible disabilities."

Adreian Payne Former MSU Star Dead At 31 ... Shot And Killed In Florida


11:05 AM PT -- TMZ Sports has obtained Dority's mug shot. Jail records show he's still in custody.


9:15 AM PT -- Police tell TMZ Sports ... Payne was shot and killed early Monday morning in Florida.


According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, officers responded to a report of a shooting at around 1:37 AM and discovered Payne suffering from a gunshot wound.


Cops say Payne was transported to a hospital, but later died there.


A spokesperson for the sheriff's office says 29-year-old Lawrence Dority was identified as the shooter ... and was ultimately arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder.

Former Michigan State men's basketball star Adreian Payne has died ... his former teammate announced on Monday. He was just 31 years old.

Details surrounding the death have not yet been revealed ... but Jared Sullinger -- the former Ohio State Buckeyes star who played with Payne at some point in their basketball careers -- announced the sad news via his Twitter page.

"Hate the news i received this morning…." Sullinger said in a tweet. "Rest Easy to my brother/Teammate @Adreian_Payne."

Payne became a massive star for the Spartans after arriving on the East Lansing campus in 2010 ... recording 16.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds in his senior season in 2013. That year, Payne helped lead MSU to an Elite Eight appearance.

Adreian went on to be taken by the Atlanta Hawks with the #15 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He bounced around the Association for several years after that, before eventually moving overseas to play professionally.

Payne last played for Juventus Utena in Lithuania in the 2021-22 season.

Off the basketball court, Payne was perhaps best known for his relationship with 8-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth. Adreian befriended her while at MSU, and the two grew so close, they referred to each other as brother and sister.

In fact, Holsworth -- who later passed away in 2014 -- joined Payne on his senior night at Michigan State.

Famed college basketball head coach Archie Miller mourned Payne's death on Twitter on Monday ... writing, "Sad to hear the passing of Adreian Payne this morning."

"Started watching him while he was in 10th grade, remember his grandmother on his visit. Loved seeing him develop at Michigan St. and become an NBA player. [Prayers] for his loved ones, Spartans, and Dayton, OH. #RipAP"


Originally Published -- 8:11 AM PT

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!