Andre Drummond says he's learned a very important lesson about the NBA -- "there's no friends or loyalty."
The 6'11" All-Star -- who's been with the Detroit Pistons since he was drafted in 2012 --ripped the team moments ago after learning he was just traded to the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers, the 2nd worst team in the NBA.
"If there’s one thing I learned about the NBA, there’s no friends or loyalty," Drummond said.
"I’ve given my heart and soul to the Pistons, and to be have this happen with no heads up makes me realize even more that this is just a business!"
Drummond added, "I love you Detroit. You will always have a special place in my heart! But on to the next @cavs hope your ready! Let’s finish the year off the right way."
The 26-year-old center is a stud -- he's a 2-time All-Star who's currently leading the league in rebounds. In fact, he went off Wednesday night against the Suns scoring 31 points and 19 boards in that game.
He's led the league in rebounds 3 times during his career -- 2016, 2018 and 2019.
LeBron revealed his tat before the Lakers' game last Friday ... showing off artwork that featured a black mamba, Kobe's numbers, two roses and a "Mamba 4 Life" inscription.
But Davis hadn't publicly released his art until just this week ... when his tattoo artist showed off the piece on social media.
The ink is beautiful ... featuring a black mamba circled around Bryant's famous brand logo.
The artist, Vanessa Aurelia, said of it, "Thank you @antdavis23 for letting me do this piece for you! It was an honor, and thanks for making my job easy."
12:17 PM PT -- LeBron James just spoke in defense of Lisa Leslie -- saying Protect @LisaLeslie at all cost!"
He added, "You’re a real Superhero!! Sorry you had to [go] through that s*%#!!! We are our own worse enemies! #Mamba4Life"
11:48 AM PT -- A rep for CBS News tells TMZ, "Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made."
"I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry."
That's Gayle King going NUCLEAR on her own network, CBS, for releasing an interview clip with Kobe Bryant's good friend, Lisa Leslie, in which King asks about Kobe's rape case ... claiming CBS simply did her dirty.
Here's the deal ... earlier this week, CBS released a teaser clip from King's big interview with the WNBA star in which she asks if Bryant's legacy is "complicated" because of the 2003 sexual assault case.
.@WNBA legend @LisaLeslie told @GayleKing that Kobe Bryant's legacy is "not complicated" for her despite his 2003 rape accusation.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 4, 2020 @CBSThisMorning
"I don't think it's something that we should keep hanging over his legacy." https://t.co/qj6MVvOaqX pic.twitter.com/9qtVORobLO
In a video she made Thursday morning, Gayle admitted she's been reading the tidal wave of negative comments on social media and it's been driving her crazy!
"I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me too,” King said.
She continued, "I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry."
"Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview -- totally taken out of context -- and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring. It’s jarring to me. I didn’t even know anything about it."
King says the sexual assault question was only a small part of a larger conversation about Kobe's life ... and she felt it WAS appropriate to ask that question at the time.
"We talked about that court case because that court case has also come up. And, I wanted to get Lisa’s take on it as a friend who knew him well, what she thought, where that should stand."
"It was very powerful when she looked me in the eye, as a member of the media, to say, 'It’s time for the media to leave it alone and to back off.'"
"I felt really good about the interview ... so, for the network to take the most salacious part when taken out of context, and put it up for people who didn’t see the whole interview, is very upsetting to me and that’s something I’m going to have to deal with them."
"There will be a very intense discussion about that."
Originally Published -- 6:08 AM PT
Southern Methodist Univ.'s women's basketball coach Travis Mays told his players to kill themselves if they weren't willing to try harder ... this according to former team members.
The first player to go public was ex-player Klara Bradshaw who wrote a blog post saying Mays was so upset with how the team was performing during a 2017-18 season practice, he said the following:
"If y'all don't want to get it together, if y'all don't get together and get connected, you might as well go and commit suicide."
Bradshaw -- who lost her father to suicide 2 years prior -- was so upset by the comment, a team trainer removed her from the workout.
The Dallas Morning News reports Mays -- a 1990 1st round pick in the NBA Draft -- later apologized to Bradshaw for the comment ... but other players also spoke out about the toxic culture surrounding his coaching style.
Ex-player McKenzie Adams recently tweeted the same 2017-18 season was "one of the most mentally traumatic experiences ever."
SMU's athletic director, Rick Hart, condemned Mays' comment to the Morning News, saying "It's absolutely a term that shouldn't be used in any capacity or any form."
Mays addressed the claim in a statement, saying, "It's one of those things where sometimes you can push. And it's our job to push people outside of their comfort zones."
"And sometimes you can say things, whether it's using the wrong verbiage or at the wrong time when you don't need to express some of that."
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts and needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
12:51 PM PT -- Shareef just posted pictures of the nearly-finished tattoos ... and they feature Kobe's brand logo, a silhouette of Kobe mid-jump shot, the #8 and #24, Gianna's "Mamba" jersey and the words, "Mamba Mentality."
Shareef says the art will be getting background ink soon.
As we previously reported, Shaq's son became VERY close with the Bryants -- he basically viewed Kobe as an uncle.
Shareef has been deeply affected by their deaths and has been searching for ways to pay tribute to the Bryants. He's been posting a lot on social media. He went to the Bryant tribute at Staples Center. And now, he's inking their numbers on his leg.
Check out the pic ... you can see Gigi's #2 jersey she rocked for her Mamba Academy team. He also added Kobe's #8 and #24, the two numbers he wore with the Lakers.
Originally Published -- 6:32 AM PT
But, Howard says he's spent the entire 2019-20 season trying to prove to Mamba that he's a winner ... and he's devastated that KB won't be around to see him achieve his goal.
"There are nights where I just cry myself to sleep just thinking about it," Howard told reporters Tuesday after the Lakers beat the Spurs.
"It was just really hard, 'cause for me, a lot of people thought me and Kobe hated each other and stuff like that and there were times where we just didn't understand each other ... and I didn't get a chance to tell him how appreciative I was for our time together and how thankful I was to be back here in L.A. and stuff like that."
Dwight continued ... "All year long I wanted to show him that I was going to do whatever it takes to help this team win. I've been wearing his shoes since the season started. I wanted him [to help me] in the dunk contest and all these things."
Howard says the whole situation still doesn't feel real -- but he'll do his best to honor Kobe's memory by balling out like Kobe would want.
This is one of the most violent college basketball fights EVER -- courtesy of the women of Alabama St. and Texas Southern.
ASU was being blown out 81-54 on Monday night in a super testy Southwestern Athletic Conference game in Montgomery ... when a fight broke out and escalated QUICKLY.
The benches cleared and a BUNCH of players threw wild haymakers -- some connected, some didn't -- but good lord, it was crazy.
Staffers and security rushed on to the court attempting to stop the brawl -- but the players overpowered them at first.
At one point, the fight spilled on to the scorer's table -- and the combatants came thiiiis close to knocking the whole thing over.
Eventually, officials were able to separate the teams and sent everyone to the locker rooms. A spokesperson for the ASU police tells us there were NO arrests made.
Reps for Alabama State were pretty pissed over the whole incident on Tuesday ... saying there WILL be repercussions for their players' actions.
"I am extremely disappointed by the behavior of our women athletes at the end of their game against Texas Southern University," ASU President Quinton T. Ross Jr. said in a statement.
"Alabama State University has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior."
Ross added the school is now launching a full-blown investigation into the fight ... with suspensions and other disciplinary actions almost certainly on the way.
For their part, Texas Southern's Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Kevin Granger, said he was "deeply disappointed" in his team's actions as well, and he promised a thorough review of it all.
Our sources tell us Justin's team reached out to Idiot Box Art owners Emily Bright and Tamara Martin to purchase their newest original piece honoring Kobe ... and the Biebs snagged one for only $1,200.
The cartoon art -- depicting a teddy bear wearing Kobe's #8 Lakers jersey over a Mamba hoodie and some Nikes -- is made of hand-cut wood covered in acrylic paint and finished with a coat of resin. The piece is one of 5 created, and it's 41.5 inches X 24 inches.
We're told the Kobe art sold out in a few hours ... so the artists are making miniature versions for $200 a pop, and they're going on sale February 6 and 7 with 24 percent of profits going to the MambaOnThree Fund.
5:42 PM PT -- The Lakers have set aside 2 seats in honor of Kobe and Gigi, who watched many NBA games courtside. Each seat is draped in Kobe and Gigi's jerseys and features a set of roses.
Gigi's Mamba Sports Academy teammates will be in attendance for the game.
2:35 PM PT -- The Lakers will honor Kobe with his #8 and #24 added to the court design ... as well as his initials on the baseline. The players will wear a jersey patch with the same design.
Everyone who attends the Lakers game Friday night will get a free Kobe Bryant tribute shirt, courtesy of the team ... 20,000 in total.
The hard-working people at Staples Center have draped a Kobe shirt on every single seat -- half of the arena will get Kobe #8 shirts. The other half will get #24 shirts.
It's just one part of the Kobe Bryant tributes at Staples on Friday -- the first game for the Lakers since Kobe passed away on Sunday.
There will be a moment of silence, visual tributes to Kobe around the arena and we're told some players are considering addressing the crowd ... but nothing is set in stone yet.
Tickets for Friday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers are already rising in value -- with the cheapest tickets just to get in the building hovering around $800 on the secondary ticket market.
We're expecting to see a massive turnout both inside and outside Staples Center -- where Kobe played for nearly all of his 20 years with the Lakers (the Lakers previously played at The Forum).
Tonight will be emotional. In fact, Carmelo Anthony -- who was very close with Kobe -- did not make the trip because he's still mourning Kobe's death.
Originally Published -- 1:26 PM PT
Amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant on the golf course Friday ... Tony Finau took the green in a Lakers jersey -- and after the PGA Tour star sank a huge birdie putt, he celebrated with a Kobe follow-through!!
The cool moment all went down at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix, Ariz. ... where Finau honored Bryant at the famous 16th hole for the 2nd straight day.
The 30-year-old golfer -- sporting the classic No. 8 yellow Bryant uni -- hit his tee shot just off the green ... but he channeled his inner Kobe on the ensuing putt.
The roll -- which was about 20 feet total -- wasn't an easy one ... but Finau jarred it. Afterward, he hit the Kobe celly, and the fans went wild!!!
Of course, golfers at the tourney have been honoring Kobe all week ... Finau himself donned the same Bryant jersey in his opening round Thursday.
Other stars like Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas also sported their Bryant swag this week ... and the tributes have been really amazing.
We broke the story, Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter were two of the nine people who tragically died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Kobe's old team -- the Lakers -- are hitting the floor Friday night in the Staples Center for the first time since his death ... and the tributes there are expected to be spectacular.
The L.A. Clippers star opened up about his business relationship with Ara Zobayan during a media session after Wednesday's practice ... clearly still emotional about the tragedy.
"[I had] flown with him a lot," Leonard told reporters ... "Great guy. Super nice. He was one of the best pilots."
Kawhi Leonard says Kobe’s pilot, Ara Zobayan was a “good dude” and he would always use Ara to fly him to and from games. He mentions how Kobe would always tell Ara to let Kawhi know he said “Hi”.— ShowtimeForum (@ShowtimeForum) January 29, 2020 @ShowtimeForum
📹: @AndrewGreif | #Lakeshow pic.twitter.com/aoeDyYrJVF
Leonard says Zobayan would often joke about how he was dropping off Kawhi and going to pick up Kobe ... and would pass along messages between the two NBA superstars.
"He'll drop me off and say he was about to pick up Kobe -- 'Kobe said hello!' -- Or, he'll just be like, 'I just dropped Kobe off and he said hello!' You know, vice versa."
Leonard added, "He was a good dude. I'm sorry for everybody."
As we previously reported, Zobayan was an experienced pilot and certified flight instructor who had logged over 8,000 hours of flight time.
Officials believe Zobayan got caught in extremely thick fog on the morning of the fatal flight -- and crashed into a mountain while trying to fly out of the bad weather.
9 people were killed in the wreck including Zobayan, Kobe, his daughter Gianna and others.
When asked if he would continue to use private helicopters to travel, Leonard admitted he was still thinking things through ... saying, "There's a lot of thoughts in my head."
Leonard has previously talked about the major influence Kobe had on his NBA career -- and how Mamba motivated him to win a championship during his run with the Toronto Raptors.
"I thought about him every game. He was a sense of a drive for me last year just trying to win that championship."
Bron and Lakers teammate Anthony Davis were grinding hard outside the team facility in El Segundo, CA on Wednesday ... working on their abs, footwork and even doing some soccer drills.
The Lakers haven't played since Saturday -- and a game scheduled for Tuesday was postponed in the wake of Kobe's death.
But at this point, the Lakers are still scheduled to play on Friday at Staples Center against Carmelo Anthony's Portland Trail Blazers ... in what will certainly be an emotional event for the players and the fans.
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We're told the Lakers are planning on paying tribute to Kobe in some way on Friday, but the details are still being worked out. You can expect a moment of silence at the very least.
The last time LeBron took the court, he passed Kobe on the NBA's all-time scoring list ... moving up to #3.
After the game, Kobe tweeted at Bron saying, "Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother."
It was Kobe's final tweet.
Kobe was not only close with LeBron and several other Lakers players, but was super-tight with Carmelo. And he played with Trevor Ariza during TA's time with the Lake Show.
Bottom line ... Kobe's fingerprints will be all over Friday's game, and the world will be watching.
"It was hard to deal with," Fox said on TNT's "Inside the NBA" special Tuesday night. "It shook a lot of people in my life."
Shortly after Kobe's chopper went down in Calabasas this weekend ... reports began to swirl that Fox -- Bryant's ex-teammate -- was on-board with the NBA legend in the fatal crash.
Fox says the rumors turned his family upside-down ... with his best friend, Monmouth men's basketball head coach King Rice, calling him frantically to make sure he was OK.
"I said, 'I'm going to talk to my best friend' and I answered it and I said, 'Hey, man, this is crazy about Kobe,'" Fox said. "And he just was bawling."
"And I started crying. And he was like, 'You're alive!' And I'm thinking, 'Yeah, like, what do you mean?' And it was in that moment that my phone just started going."
Fox said his mom, his brother and his sister all called, adding, "Look, this has been a lot to process for all of us."
Smith said his experience with the rumors were an emotional ride as well ... and he broke down on the set talking about the relief he felt when Fox finally texted him back that he was alive.
"The race to be first and tell a story, you don't know what it does to people," Smith said.
"It's irresponsible," Fox added. "It's irresponsible."
Demand for Kobe Bryant memorabilia is surging like crazy in the wake of his death -- with collectors paying INSANE prices to scoop up valuable items, TMZ Sports has learned.
But, with the high demand comes scam artists looking to push fakes ... and the market is already on high alert.
We spoke with multiple high-end collectible dealers who are all saying the same thing ... people are clamoring for anything Kobe ... and they're paying anywhere from 2x to 20x the price Kobe stuff was fetching before his death.
For example, a game-worn and signed Kobe jersey from the 2004-2005 season was expected to hit $6,000 before his death ... but pre-bidders have already bumped the price to a starting $6,500 and the auction still runs for another month!
Another high-end dealer who didn't want to be mentioned by name says an extremely rare Kobe basketball card (which was originally expected to sell around the $2,500 range) has sold in the private market after Kobe's death for nearly $50,000.
Other dealers have told us straight-up they're pressing pause on selling Kobe items because it doesn't feel right to capitalize on emotional fans.
As for the fakes, multiple dealers have told us it's not uncommon for forgers to push out fake items and fake signatures on eBay and other platforms.
Our experts are advising fans to only buy merchandise that's been authenticated from reputable sellers.
Bronny James was playing in his first high school game since Bryant tragically passed in a helicopter crash Sunday ... and the scene at Sierra Canyon was emotional.
Sierra Canyon wore Lakers and Kobe shirts in the pregame warmups ... and the team -- along with its Campbell Hall HS opponents -- took a 24-second shot-clock violation to start the night as a tribute to Bryant.
But, the most amazing ode to Kobe came during the 3rd quarter ... when Bronny took a lob from his teammate and hammered it home so hard, the gym exploded.
It looked awfully familiar ...
Bronny's squad ended up rolling to a victory ... and afterward, LeBron was loving the moment with his fam -- sharing an incredible embrace with LBJ Jr. and his wife, Savannah.
LeBron said earlier this week Bryant's death was SUPER tough on him, writing in an emotional goodbye to the 41-year-old, "I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man!"
Seems Bronny is down to do the same.
10:43 AM PT -- 1/29 -- Shaq says after much debate, he WILL go forward with his "Fun House" Super Bowl party Friday in Miami ... saying ALL of the proceeds will go toward Kobe's charity.
"Part of me wanted to stay to myself as I reflect what my brother and his family mean to me and my family," the Diesel said. "But, in thinking what would Kobe want, what would he do?"
"Kobe would want us to push through and celebrate life. So, let's do just that."
Shaq added, "Together we will celebrate all those who lost their lives in Sunday's tragedy. RIP my brother, my friend and my homie, The Black Mamba. Until we meet again."
FYI, Bryant's charity -- the "Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation" -- was established in 2007 and is dedicated to helping youth and families in need across the world.
5:52 AM PT -- 1/29 -- Amazing moment outside Staples Center after Shaq's emotional appearance on "Inside the NBA" ... he led a "KOBE!" chant for the dozens of Bryant mourners, and it was awesome.
Shaq walked outside the building to a ton of screaming fans ... but he silenced them all to kick off an epic nod to his former teammate.
The video is incredible ... Shaq tells them "one more time!" and jumps up and down to the "KO-BE!" chants.
5:21 PM PT -- Jerry West -- who made the deal to make Kobe a Laker -- joined the show to discuss his feelings since the tragedy ... and he says his memories go far beyond the court.
"To watch this incredible family grow and prosper, and now to see not one, but 2, but 3 families gone ... saddest day of my life."
4:20 PM PT -- A powerfully emotional Shaq spoke more about the loss of his beloved teammate on TNT's "Inside The NBA" on Tuesday ... and it's heartbreaking.
"I haven't felt a pain that sharp in a while," Shaq said on Kobe's death.
"The fact that we're not gonna be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony, we're not gonna be able to say, 'Haha, I got 5 (championships), you got 4,' the fact that we're not gonna be able to say, 'If we would've stayed together, we could've got 10' ... those were the things you can't get back."
O'Neal choked back tears while the show's hosts intro'd the episode from the Staples Center court ... with all the guys sharing their special memories with Bryant.
Shaq says he wishes he had invested more time in maintaining his friendship with Kobe ... saying, "I wish I could say something to him again."
"I’m not doing well. I’m sick."
"It just hurts," Shaq said on his "The Big Podcast with Shaq" show ... noting that he was already in bad shape because his sister, Ayesha, also passed away recently.
"I’m just getting over the death of my sister. You guys told me the other day when I came in, I looked like I needed some rest. And I haven’t been sleeping after Ayesha’s death."
"All the stuff that is documented between us .. this is what brothers do."
"I love Kobe Bryant. I'm the first to say ... I've got 4 rings ... I couldn't have gotten 3 without him."
Shaq says he's glad the two became closer in recent years -- but wishes they would have communicated more because he really loved and respected KB.