Michael Jordan Rare, Signed, Game-Worn AJ1's For Sale ... Could Fetch $600K!!!

Exclusive

Michael Jordan's Air Jordan 1's gave birth to sneaker culture in 1985 ... and now 1 of the first pairs MJ rocked during his rookie year with the Bulls are for sale!!

... And, if ya got around 600 grand, they could be yours.

The game-worn, autographed pair of red, white and black AJ 1's -- donned by Michael during the '84-'85 NBA season -- already has a $122k bid on Goldin Auctions website ... with over 18 days left in the auction.

The already incredibly high value of Jordan memorabilia has skyrocketed since ESPN's "The Last Dance" docuseries aired. In fact, a similar pair of AJ1's recently sold for $560k.

But, there's something special about GA's pair ... 'cause Jordan actually signed the sneakers on-camera during a television interview with a local L.A. sports reporter 7 years after he donned them in an NBA game.

THE REAL DEAL
Goldin Auctions

The reporter -- Rick Lozano -- was previously gifted the Jordan's (left shoe size 13.5, right 13) by Michael's former teammate, Bulls player Gene Banks.

36 years ago, Jordan had a spectacular rookie year -- averaging 28 ppg, 6.5 rebounds, 6 assists while easily winning Rookie of the Year -- and now you can own the kicks that started a sneaker revolution.

The auction runs through August 22 ... and we're told the final number could be over $600k!!

J. Cole Tryout Offer From Detroit Pistons ... 'Hit Us Up!!!'

Breaking News

Is this really happening?!?

J. Cole is getting his first shot at making his NBA dream come true ... with the Detroit Pistons offering the rapper a tryout!!!

As we previously reported, rap legend Master P says the 35-year-old North Carolina native is training like crazy to get a shot at the league ... and even asked P for advice on how to turn from MC to baller while working on a Puma commercial together.

UNDER A MICROSCOPE
TMZSports.com

Considering P landed 2 NBA contracts in the '90s with the Raptors and Hornets, it wouldn't be the first time a rapper has hit the hardwood as a pro ... and Cole is known for being a legit threat with his game.

The Pistons got wind of our interview with P ... and used their official Twitter account to let Jermaine know they'd love to be the team to give him a legit shot at making it to the NBA -- and even used his own lyrics in the offer.

"We see you out here. You said they only got 12 slots on the Pistons," the team said, referencing his song, "FRIENDS."

"Hit us up for that tryout. This is for all the dreamers."

Look ... this could very well all be for publicity. But, then again, stranger things have happened.

After all, the Pistons went 20-46 last season ... so they can use all the help they can get.

You know what to do now, J. -- pick up the phone!!!

OKC's Dennis Schroder Leaves NBA Bubble ... Baby On The Way!!!

Breaking News

OKC Thunder guard Dennis Schroder -- a frontrunner for the 6th Man of the Year Award -- has left the NBA's bubble in Orlando to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.

Schroder has been playing a huge role off the bench for OKC this season ... averaging nearly 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game.

But, Thunder coach Billy Donovan confirmed DS left the team early Monday morning to be with his family ... as his wife, Ellen, prepares for the new arrival.

Of course, players are able to leave the bubble for family emergencies and other significant reasons ... and will be required to quarantine once they return to the Disney World campus.

OKC is currently in 6th in the Western Conference as the playoffs near ... but Schroder made it crystal clear he was not about to miss out on the moment.

"I love my teammates, I love basketball, but family comes first all the time," he said last month.

No word on when Schroder will return to Orlando ... but in the meantime, congrats on the kid!!

LeBron James I'm a Children's Book Author!!! ... Drops 'I Promise' Book

Breaking News

LeBron James has taken his talents to the typewriter -- the Lakers superstar is now a children's book author!!

King James is set to release "I Promise" on August 11 -- a 40-page picture book featuring "upbeat, rhyming text," based on a poem written by LeBron.

The artwork was all done by famed illustrator Nina Mata -- who also worked with Team USA Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez on her kids book, "She's Got This."

Bron says the title is in inspired by his "I Promise" program -- which "motivates children everywhere to always #StriveForGreatness."

Of course, Bron opened his "I Promise" school for at-risk children in Akron back in 2018 ... where students made huge gains in statewide testing after the first year!

LBJ's book is super positive -- with simple, inspiring messages like:

"I promise to use my voice and stand up for what's right."

"I promise to ask for help whenever I need it."

"I promise to be me."

Oh, and Bron is also dropping a companion audiobook read by his mom, Gloria James!

Bron spoke about the project ... saying, "Books have the ability to teach, inspire, and bring people together. That's why these books, and the opportunity to get children and parents reading together, mean so much to me."

But, this isn't a one-and-done project for the King ... James is also working on a "middle grade" book which is due in 2021.

Busy guy!!

Master P J. Cole Training for NBA Career ... Dead Serious.

Exclusive

J. Cole is currently training his ass off in hopes of getting a shot to make an NBA roster ... so says Master P, who offered the rap star some pretty sound advice.

First, let's talk J. Cole -- the "No Role Models" rapper was a solid hooper back in high school and famously tried out for St. Johns during his stint in college, but ultimately decided to focus on music.

UNDER A MICROSCOPE
TMZSports.com

Cole is a regular on the celebrity basketball circuit and is widely known as one of the best non-pro celebrity ballers in the country.

The 35-year-old recently hooked up with Master P for a Puma commercial where it's strongly insinuated that Cole is training for a shot with an NBA team ... which makes sense since P basically did the same thing back in the day.

Master P says he earned an NBA contract with 2 different teams in the '90s -- after he was already a famous rap mogul -- and he knows what it takes to get to the top level.

P -- whose music and hoops careers are documented in BET's "No Limit Chronicles" -- tells TMZ Sports he had a lengthy conversation with J. Cole about his hoop dreams ... and says he's convinced the rapper is dead serious.

"When I talked to J. Cole, he was like 'You know, big dog you did it. What do you think I would have to do to make it happen?'"

"I said to get one of these NBA jerseys, it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be a lot of hate, it's gonna be a lot of people not believing in you but you know J. Cole -- he got the right size, he in the gym!"

"But, what I told him ... this a different time we're in. They're going to pick you apart! You're gonna have to be able to hit every shot and if you don't hit every shot, they -- you know in the NBA, they don't hit every shot but they believe in them. So, you're gonna have to go somewhere where the team really believe in you and the players believe in you."

P says Cole won't get a pass just because he's famous -- in fact, he'll have to work even harder than everyone else to prove he's for real.

"They've been putting their whole life into this. So, you're gonna have to prove you're worthy of being on that court."

P adds, "I believe in him and I believe that he's a youngster that has a lot of desire."

Bottom line -- P says if Cole does get an opportunity, he's gonna have to show out.

"Either you're gonna be good enough to play or you're gonna get exposed."

NBA's Jonathan Isaac Stands For National Anthem Here's My Explanation

Breaking News
LAST MAN STANDING
Courtesy of NBA

2:53 PM PT -- Jonathan Isaac just addressed the media, where he was asked to explain why he didn't kneel or wear a BLM shirt ... and he says a lot of it has to do with his religious beliefs.

Isaac said he believes Black lives do matter ... but doesn't believe the kneeling demonstration or BLM shirt "go hand in hand with supporting Black lives."

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

Isaac went on to explain how the teachings of Jesus Christ influenced his life and decisions ... and insists after much thought, the kneeling demonstration wasn't right for him.

"I think when you look around, racism isn't the only thing that plagues our society, that plagues our nation, that plagues our world, and I feel like coming together on that message that we want to get past not only racism but everything that plagues as a society. The answer to it is the gospel."

We think what Isaac is trying to say is his priority is on following the teachings of Jesus Christ, above all else ... including the Black Lives Matter movement.

Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand during the national anthem following the season restart ... deciding against both kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.

The league's coaches, refs and players -- from LeBron James to Zion Williamson -- have been using the anthem demonstrations to raise awareness as games pick back up in Orlando ... a gesture that is being supported by NBA commish Adam Silver.

Isaac became the first player to choose to stand as the anthem was played before the Magic's match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday ... while the rest of the team's players and staffers took a knee.

It's worth noting -- Silver says everyone will have the option to kneel during the anthem without consequence ... despite a league rule requiring players to stand.

The same goes for anyone who wishes to stand -- no one is saying the players HAVE to kneel, either.

So far, Jonathan hasn't commented on his decision to stand publicly -- because the game is currently being played. But, when he does, we'll update here.

Charles Barkley spoke about the demonstrations on Thursday during TNT's "Inside The NBA," saying, "The national anthem means different things to different people."

"I’m glad these guys are unified. If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified."

The Magic released a statement in support of the demonstration, saying, "The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color."

"We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity."

Originally published -- 1:08 PM PT

LeBron James On NBA Kneeling 'I Hope We Made Kaepernick Proud'

Breaking News
KNEELIN' TOGETHER
Courtesy of NBA

5:44 AM PT -- 7/31 -- After the game, LeBron James credited Colin Kaepernick for inspiring the kneeling demonstration -- and said, "I hope we made Kap proud."

"I hope we continue to make Kap proud. Every single day I hope I make him proud on how I live my life, not only on the basketball floor, but off the floor."

"I want to always speak out against things that I feel like are unjust. I always want to be educated on things and go about it that way."

LeBron added, "Kap was someone who stood up when times weren't comfortable, when people didn't understand, people refused to listen to what he was saying. If you go back and go look at any of his postgame interviews when he was talking about why he was kneeling, it had absolutely nothing to do with the flag. It had absolutely nothing to do with the soldiers, the men and women that keep our land free."

"He explained that, and the ears were closed, people never listened, they refused to listen, but I did."

"A lot of people in the black community did listen, and we just thank him for him sacrificing everything that he did to put us in a position today, even years later, to be able to have that moment like we had tonight."

6:20 PM PT -- LeBron James and all his Lakers teammates participated in the kneeling demonstration during the anthem before they tipped off against the L.A. Clippers.

The Clippers also took a knee ... along with all of the coaches, staffers and referees working the game.

4:44 PM PT -- NBA commish Adam Silver is addressing both teams' decision to kneel before the game, saying they will not face punishment for the gesture.

"I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem."

TAKING A KNEE
Courtesy of NBA

Powerful moment from the NBA restart -- where every single player on both the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz took a knee in solidarity during the national anthem.

It was quite a statement Thursday evening in the first official game of the NBA restart -- which tipped off in the bubble environment at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Seems every coach and referee in the building also took a knee alongside stars like Rudy Gobert, Lonzo Ball, Zion Williamson and Donovan Mitchell.

All of the players were wearing "Black Lives Matter" shirts -- and were standing behind the BLM art at center court.

The anthem was performed by musician Jon Batiste -- an instrumental rendition featuring heavy guitar and piano elements.

The players were arm in arm during the anthem -- some players raised their fists.

After the anthem, Shaquille O'Neal praised everyone involved -- saying the kneeling was "beautifully done in unity -- nice to see."

He added, "We have to continue to fight, continue the movement ... now we have to go vote."

Charles Barkley also weighed in ... saying, "If people don't kneel, they're not a bad person. I want to make that clear."

Barkley added that if a person chooses not to kneel, "they should not be vilified."

Of course, the kneeling movement was started by Colin Kaepernick who says the point of the demonstration is to put a spotlight on police brutality and social injustice.

The NBA allowed players to replace their names on the back of their jerseys with social justice messages.

Zion's jersey says "Peace." Lonzo Ball's says "Equality." Brandon Ingram's says "Freedom." Mike Conley's says "I Am a Man."

Originally published -- 7/30 3:55 PM PT

NCAA Allowing Social Justice Messages ... On Jerseys

Breaking News

The NCAA has voted to allow athletes to put social justice statements on their jerseys this upcoming season ... giving all students the opportunity to express their views.

The vote came down last week ... and follows the lead of the MLB, NFL, NBA, WNBA and more leagues in using jerseys to promote equality as they return to competition.

The org.'s playing rules oversight panel determined each student-athlete will be able to sport patches on the front and messages on the back of their uniforms "to express support and voice their opinions."

Of course, the NBA is allowing players to wear messages like "Black Lives Matter" and "Equality" when the season restarts Thursday ... and WNBA players are wearing Breonna Taylor's name on their jerseys.

The NFL also announced it will feature the names of police brutality victims on helmets for the 2020 season.

Shaquille O'Neal's son, Shareef -- who plays for LSU's basketball team -- showed his support with the NCAA's decision ... saying, "GOOD ✊🏽!! I was hoping they would let us."

Michael Jordan Praises Tiger Woods For Evolving Golf Past 'White Guy's Sport'

Breaking News
TIMES HAVE CHANGED
Cigar Aficionado

Michael Jordan says Tiger Woods is one of the most important figures in golf history -- crediting him with evolving it from a "white man's sport" into a game for everybody.

It's all part of newly released footage of a sit-down interview with Cigar Aficionado from 2017 ... when MJ was asked who's the G.O.A.T -- Tiger or Jack Nicklaus?

"Obviously Jack won more during the time he played," MJ said ... "Tiger evolved it to where it crossed a lot of different boundaries -- where it's not just a white guy's sport."

MJ says Woods paved the way for other minority golfers to get a shot on the big stage ... which led to a bigger audience and more interest in the game. In other words, Tiger made golf cool.

"Now, does that constitute him being the greatest? Does that mean he's any less than Jack -- I think [the sentiment] is unfair."

MJ noted at the time of the interview Jack had 4 more majors than Tiger (now, he has 3 since Tiger won the 2019 Masters) ... but Jordan says an apples to oranges comparison isn't really fair since they played in different eras.

"I won 6 championships, Bill Russell won 11 --  does that make Bill Russell better than me or make me better than him? No, because we played at different eras."

"So, when you try to equate who's the greatest of all time, it's an unfair parallel. It's an unfair choice. I think those are the demons that obviously Tiger had to live with and he's gonna be challenged, he's gonna be graded upon that but for me, I think they're both great. I would never say one is greater than the other."

There's more in the interview ... Jordan also reveals he smokes 6 cigars every day and tries to play 36 holes of golf almost every day!

That's so much golf!!

Jordan also opens up about his short baseball career -- and explains why his stint in the minor leagues made him a better NBA in the long run.

LeBron James To Rock Kobe Tribute During NBA Restart ... 'Let's Get It'

Breaking News

LeBron James will be repping Kobe Bryant when the NBA season restarts Thursday night ... wearing a #24 finger sleeve on his left hand.

Bron has been honoring Kobe with the sleeve since Mamba passed away back in January ... but wanted his fans to know he's keeping the tribute alive in the NBA Bubble in Orlando.

"Stucc in the Grind! The Marathon Continues tonight and forever. Let’s Get It," James posted on IG with a photo of the finger sleeve.

The lyrics are a tribute to another late L.A. legend, Nipsey Hussle.

The Lakers will rebegin their season Thursday night against the L.A. Clippers -- both teams are favorites to win the NBA title.

Kobe and his daughter Gianna died on January 26th in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.

LeBron -- and really most of the NBA -- was devastated by the loss. With several high profile players getting tattoo tributes to honor the legend.

In fact, Bron and his Lakers teammate Anthony Davis got similar Kobe Bryant tattoos on their legs in the weeks following Bryant's death.

The Lakers -- and every other team in the bubble -- will play 8 "regular season" games before the playoffs begin.

At that point, the playoff tournament will run in the usual way.

Rapper Jack Harlow Rocks Lou Williams Clippers Jersey After Accidental Strip Club Snitching

Breaking News

Here's rapper Jack Harlow showing love for his pal, Lou Williams -- just days after accidentally exposing him in a strip club incident that rocked the NBA.

Yep, it was Harlow who posted -- and then quickly deleted -- a pic of the L.A. Clippers star at Magic City last week which landed Williams in some hot water with the league.

Remember, Williams had received permission to leave the NBA Bubble in Orlando to attend a funeral in Atlanta ... and was ordered to stay away from places with a high COVID exposure risk.

LIKE STRIP CLUBS!

Of course, Williams insists he was only at the club for 20 minutes to pick up some chicken wings -- which are apparently AMAZING -- and didn't put himself in harm's way.

The "What's Poppin" rapper TRIED to lie to cover for his friend -- initially saying the pic was a throwback -- but the truth eventually emerged.

Williams is now serving a mandatory 10-day quarantine so he can get back into the bubble.

In the meantime, Harlow is now in L.A. where he was spotted in Lou's Clippers jersey.

Soooooo .... water under the bridge?!

NBA Zero New COVID-19 Positives ... 344 Players Tested

Breaking News

More great news from the NBA ... a 2nd straight week with ZERO positive COVID-19 tests from players and staffers inside the bubble.

While MLB, NFL, and other sports are scrambling to figure out how to proceed safely -- the NBA seems to have it down.

The league claims that 344 players were tested and NONE of the tests came back positive for coronavirus.

There have been some issues with the bubble -- some players have violated the rules to get things like delivery food and strip club chicken wings -- but so far, the league has been able to avoid an outbreak.

There are strict protocols in place for breaches -- mandatory quarantine periods -- and judging by the numbers, it's effective.

The NBA season is set to officially tip-off Thursday night and this is the kind of news that players, staff, executives and fans were hoping to hear!!

Tiffany Haddish Racism Makes Me Afraid to Have Kids

I'VE SEEN IT FIRSTHAND
whatsinyourglass.tv

Tiffany Haddish is opening up about the idea of motherhood, but says one thing above all else scares her -- bringing a child into a racist world.

The actress and comedian discussed the topic on NBA star Carmelo Anthony's hit podcast, "What's in Your Glass?," saying everyone's always asking her when she's going to have some babies.

Her answer ... "There's a part of me that would like to do that, and I always make up these excuses like, 'Oh, I need a million dollars in the bank before I do that, I need this, I need that.' But really, it's like, I would hate to give birth to someone that looks like me, knowing that they're gonna be hunted or killed."

Tiffany teared up as she added ... "Why would I put someone through that?"

Carmelo -- who has a teenage son -- said, "It's scary to even think about that" ... and Haddish pointed out that white people don't have that concern.

SHARING IS CARING
TMZ.com

Tiff attended and spoke at Black Lives Matter protests in L.A. last month, and says the movement's giving her some hope for the future -- but it's clear racism still has her second-guessing motherhood.

Michael Jordan Rare Bulls Rookie Jersey For Sale ... Could Fetch $500k!!!

Exclusive

Michael Jordan's super-rare, game-worn, signed Bulls jersey from his rookie year in Chicago just hit the auction block ... and you guessed it, His Airness' uni top could bring in $500k!!

MJ -- who was drafted 3rd behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie😬 -- rocked the red mesh size 42 Rawlings jersey multiple times during the 1984-1985 campaign ... where he averaged 28.2 points per game, led Chi-town to the playoffs, and won Rookie of the Year.

The jersey just hit Goldin Auctions block ... and they tell TMZ Sports they believe it could rake in up to $500,000.

Of course, the value of MJ items has exploded following the success of ESPN's "Last Dance" docu-series.

Everything from Jordan's personal checks, to baseballs he signed as a youth ballplayer have been selling for exorbitant prices.

Michael's rookie jersey won't be any different ... bidding starts now.

Good luck!

Lou Williams Admits Going To Strip Club While Away From Bubble

Breaking News

4:55 PM PT -- 7/25 -- Williams admitted to NBA security he visited Magic City strip club in Atlanta on Thursday night ... while he was excused from the NBA bubble to attend a family member's memorial service.

Williams claims he was at the gentleman's club for a "short time" to pick up dinner after the family member's viewing ... which is when Harlow snapped a pic with the vet.

In other words ... Harlow slipped up and tried to cover for his friend.

Williams -- who has rejoined the team in Orlando -- is now under investigation by the league to determine how long he will have to quarantine.

11:56 AM PT -- Williams just posted a tribute to a family member who passed away last week ... which perhaps explains his reason for leaving the NBA bubble.

Rapper Jack Harlow says he was NOT hanging out with Lou Williams on Thursday ... claiming he has nothing to do with the Clippers star leaving the NBA bubble.

The 33-year-old L.A. hooper reportedly left the Disney campus this week due to "excused personal reasons" ... but is expected to rejoin the team at a later date.

The whole thing seemed pretty normal -- considering several players have left the bubble for a number of reasons in the past few weeks -- until the "What's Poppin'" rapper posted an IG Story with Williams.

"A location U would never guess," Harlow captioned the pic ... tagging Williams.

Harlow quickly deleted the pic ... which led people to speculate if he accidentally got the Sixth Man of the Year in trouble.

But, Harlow tried to clear the air on Friday ... saying the pic was old and he was just missing his buddy.

"That was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him," Harlow said.

What makes things even more bizarre -- Harlow deleted that tweet minutes later.

So ... what the hell is going on?? Is Harlow trying to cover his tracks, or is it all a misunderstanding??

Either way, the Clippers have lost several guys -- including key players like Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley -- with the season restart quickly approaching on July 30 ... so it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Story developing ...

Originally Published -- 7/24 11:18 AM PT

Austin Rivers Leaves NBA Bubble for Family Matter ... Plans To Return

Breaking News

Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers has left the NBA Bubble in Orlando due to an "urgent" family matter ... but plans to rejoin the team soon, according to reports.

The 27-year-old shooting guard left Orlando Friday and expects to return "sometime this weekend," The Athletic's Shams Charania says.

Of course, Rivers will have to quarantine for 10 days before he can re-enter the bubble ... as part of the league's strict safety protocols.

As we previously reported, Rivers' teammate, Russell Westbrook, tested positive for COVID-19 before the NBA restart and quarantined before joining the team in Orlando this week.

Rivers joins Pelicans superstar rookie Zion Williamson and Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell ... who also recently left the bubble due to family matters.

Rivers -- the son of L.A.'s Clippers coach, Doc Rivers -- is averaging 8.7 points per game, shooting at 41% from the field.

No word on if coach will be leaving the bubble as well.

Story developing ...

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!