Heat, Celtics Players Kneel For National Anthem Following Blake Decision, Capitol Raid

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Miami Heat and Boston Celtics players took a knee during the national anthem prior to tip-off Wednesday ... with both teams releasing a powerful message following the Jacob Blake decision and unrest in D.C.

The Celtics reportedly held a players-only meeting during warmups ... presumably to figure out how to address the current status of the country and whether the game would take place.

The result -- a joint statement from both teams explaining their decision to play.

"2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed," the players said in a statement. "We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after yesterday’s decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation's capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on."

"The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protesters who acted illegally just shows how much work we have to do."

Of course, the players are referring to the Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol just hours ago ... breaking through barriers and jumping over walls to enter the building.

Miami center Meyers Leonard was the only Heat player to stand for the anthem (as he did throughout the 2020 season restart in Orlando) ... while every Celtics player elected to take a knee.

The statement continued ... "We have decided to play tonight’s game to try and bring joy into people's lives."

"But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal and just America."

The Heat and Celtics join names like Doc Rivers and Isaiah Thomas ... who spoke out strongly against Wednesday's incidents.

Boston Celtics Slam Mass. Governor Over Police Reform Bill ... 'Deeply Troubling'

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Boston Celtics players are outraged at Massachusetts' governor over changes the politician asked for in a new police reform bill ... and they're now pleading with the guy to reverse course.

Seventeen players -- including Kemba Walker, Tristan Thompson and Jayson Tatum -- all penned a lengthy piece in The Boston Globe on Wednesday spelling out their issues with Gov. Charlie Baker's requests.

In the article, Celtics players say they have a major problem with how Baker -- a Republican -- wants to amend a technology portion of a bill that would make sweeping changes to Massachusetts police.

Specifically, the Celtics say they're pissed Baker asked lawmakers to remove a portion of the bill that would bar cops from using facial recognition technology.

The Celtics players say this piece MUST remain in the bill ... claiming officers' use of the tech has led to countless wrongful arrests in the Black community -- and even deaths.

"Studies confirm that face recognition surveillance technology is flawed and biased, with significantly higher error rates when used against people of color and women," the Celtics said in the article.

"This has real consequences. One false match can lead to an interrogation, arrest, and -- especially for Black men -- even a deadly police encounter."

The Boston players added, "Baker’s rejection is deeply troubling because this technology supercharges racial profiling by police."

The Celtics are urging Baker to reconsider ... writing, "The Legislature should return these important regulations to the governor and he should sign the bill."

For his part, Baker said last week his reasoning for wanting to keep the technology available is because it can play an "important role" in solving crimes.

"I’m not going to sign something that is going to ban facial recognition," Baker said.

The bill is now back in Legislature ... and lawmakers are now facing a decision to either amend it or keep it as is and send it back to Baker's desk.

Tristan Thompson I Just Became a U.S. Citizen!!!

Tristan Thompson is all about changes these days ... and he's just changed his citizenship to the U.S. of A.

Tristan was sworn in as an American citizen earlier this week ... shortly after deciding to join the Boston Celtics.

Tristan was a Canadian citizen and came to the United States to study at the Univ. of Texas back in 2009. He was only there a year, before joining the NBA draft.

Tristan says, “I came to the U.S. on a student visa and have always had big dreams. I’m now truly living the American dream.”

Dude's got a lot to celebrate. The Boston deal's netting him $19 mil over 2 years.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

The athlete’s U.S. citizenship comes after news broke on November 21 that he reached a two-year, $19 million deal with the Boston Celtics as its new center.

Thompson began his professional basketball career in 2011 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played for nine seasons.

On the home front, Khloe says she and 2-year-old True are staying put in L.A. ... she just bought a new home right next to her mom. Presumably, there will be lots of commuting.

Khloe and Tristan got back together during the pandemic, and from all accounts, they're going strong.

Congrats Tristan!!!

Khloe Kardashian Tristan in Boston Changes Nothing ... True and I Are Staying in L.A.

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Tristan Thompson signing with the Boston Celtics isn't a game-changer for him and Khloe Kardashian ... other than the historic Boston-L.A. rivalry hitting closer to home.

Sources close to the couple tell TMZ ... Khloe and True will not be uprooting themselves from Los Angeles by moving to the East Coast with Tristan.

We're told Khloe plans on making extended visits to Boston with her 2-year-old tot to see her daddy when schedules allow for it ... but L.A. will remain home.

Our sources say True has her routine, her family and especially all of her beloved cousins in L.A. ... and both Khloe and Tristan don't want to take that away from her. Instead, they're set on making long-distance work.

As you know ... Khloe spent a lot of time in Cleveland with Tristan when he was on the Cavaliers -- including when she gave birth -- but returned to L.A. amid the fallout of him cheating on her, and has remained there ever since.

The 2 managed to reconcile over the pandemic months in L.A. after Tristan's NBA season ended -- signaling they were a couple again by doing things like taking hikes together. Nevertheless, we're told Khloe's steadfast on staying put with True.

BTW -- Tristan reached an agreement with the Celtics on a 2-year, $19 million contract ... so he'll be able to spoil his ladies when they're in town to see him.

Tom Heinsohn Boston Celtics Legend Dead At 86 ... 10-Time Champ

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Hall of Famer Tom Heinsohn -- who won 10 titles for the Boston Celtics as a player and coach -- has died, the team announced Monday. He was 86.

Heinsohn is the only person to have ties to each of the Celtics' 17 championships ... going on to spend 30 years as a beloved color commentator after his coaching career.

Tom was a 6-time All-Star on the court ... winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1957. Heinsohn -- AKA "Tommy Gun" -- averaged 18.6 points in 654 games in his career.

He retired as a player in 1965 ... and the Celtics retired his #15 jersey a year later.

Heinsohn spent 9 seasons as Celtics head coach from 1969-78 -- winning titles in 1974 and 1976 -- and was named Coach of the Year in 1973.

Heinsohn was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1986 ... and was later recognized for his coaching career in 2015.

The Celtics ownership group released a statement, saying, "This is a devastating loss. Tommy was the ultimate Celtic."

"For the past 18 years, our ownership group has relied hugely on Tommy’s advice and insights and have reveled in his hundreds of stories about Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, and how the Celtics became a dynasty. He will be remembered forever.

Ex-Celtics star Isaiah Thomas mourned the loss on Tuesday ... saying, "Damn RIP Tommy Heinsohn!!!"

"'The Little guy' that’s the nickname he gave me. Will miss his voice and everything he brought to the game especially Celtics basketball."

RIP

Enes Kanter Dad Released from Turkish Jail ... NBA Star Says

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Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter says his father has been released from custody in Turkey -- 7 years after he was "wrongfully" arrested.

For years, Enes has said officials in his home country have been going after his dad Mehmet Kanter because Enes has been publicly critical of the Turkish government -- particularly, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Back in 2017, Enes explained ... "The police raided our home in Istanbul, something that is happening to many innocent families across Turkey just because they are members of Hizmet, inspired by Scholar, Fethullah Gulen."

"My father is arrested because of my outspoken criticism of the ruling party. He may get tortured for simply being my family member."

In fact, Enes has been a wanted man himself in Turkey -- the government accused him of being a member of an armed anti-government terrorist organization, which Enes has adamantly denied.

But, some good news ... Enes says his dad is now free.

"Wow! I could cry. Today I found out that 7 years after arresting my dad, taking him through a Kangaroo court and accusing him of being a criminal just because he is my dad.  MY DAD HAS BEEN RELEASED!"

Enes explained, "This is due to the pressure we have put on the Turkish regime."

"They no longer could keep him from his freedom because of the spotlight that we all put on this case!  However! He is just one person, there are still tens of thousands of people wrongfully in jail in Turkey.  I will not forget you, we will not forget you!"

Kanter continued, "This proves that the voice of the people will always push Dictators to do the right thing in the end. Don't be scared to stand for what is right, always and always, Stand for FREEDOM Stand for DEMOCRACY Stand for HUMAN RIGHTS."

NBA's Gordon Hayward Expecting Baby #4 ... Finally Gets a Boy!!!

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GORDON HAYWARD IS HAPPY!!!!

The Boston Celtics star is expecting his 4th kid with wife Robyn -- and after that lackluster gender reveal moment back in 2018 ... ya gotta feel stoked for the guy!

Remember, back in July 2018, Robyn revealed to Gordon that she was pregnant with a little girl ... making it 3 girls to 0 boys.

Gordon's reaction was priceless ... a look of disappointment -- followed by that infamous line, "Daddy's always happy."

JULY 2018
BIG REVEAL

Of course, Hayward is happy to be a #GirlDad, but now he's got ANOTHER kid on the way -- and this one is a male. In other words, Gordon got his wish!

Robyn and Gordon, who are very self-aware, made a joke about the gender reveal ... posting, "Baby G coming in September *** yes, it’s a boy."

So, congrats to the whole Hayward family ... and to the fetus -- no pressure kid!

FYI, Gordon was a 1st round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and is currently in the middle of a massive 4-year, $127 million contract!

NBA's Marcus Smart Fined $35k For Going Crazy On Ref ... Verbal Abuse

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The NBA is making Marcus Smart pay for blowing up on a ref Tuesday night -- hitting the Boston Celtics' star with a big 5-figure fine for "verbally abusing" an official.

The 25-year-old lost his cool after getting called for his 6th foul while contesting a Caris LeVert 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left during Boston's loss to the Nets ... getting so heated, he had to be escorted off the court.

Smart -- who's no stranger to beefin' with officials -- gave the refs an earful after fouling out, pointing and yelling his frustrations over the call.

The NBA just handed down Smart's punishment for the freak-out -- fining Smart $35k for "confronting and verbally abusing the game officials." The NBA says Smart's history of going off on refs factored into the $35k figure.

As for the game itself, Tuesday was a disaster across the board for Boston -- Brooklyn's LeVert scored a career-high 51 while the Celtics gave up a whopping 51 points in the 4th quarter ALONE to seal the loss.

FYI -- Smart famously signed a $52 million deal back in 2018 (remember his epic rap song?) ... so really, just a drop in the bucket for the dude.

DROPPIN' BARS

Tom Brady Jokes About Julian Edelman's Arrest

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Even Tom Brady ain't above busting Julian Edelman's balls when it comes to his allegedly drunken car smashing arrest ...

The New England Patriots QB cracked a little joke at the WR's expense on social media Tuesday ... flashing a bottle of his TB12 Electrolytes with the caption, "[Edelman] it sounds like you need some of this."

TMZ Sports broke the story ... Brady's favorite target (and last year's Super Bowl MVP) was arrested for vandalism Saturday night in Beverly Hills after cops say he jumped on the hood of a Mercedes-Benz.

Our law enforcement sources tell us it appeared as if Edelman had been drinking before the incident. He was partying with ex-Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce and former New England Patriots teammate Danny Amendola earlier in the night. The group had been hanging out at Cantina Frida while the Ravens were losing to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional playoff game.

So far, Edelman hasn't commented publicly about the arrest ... but it's clear his QB doesn't think it's that big of a deal, or he wouldn't be clowning the guy about it to his 7 million IG followers.

Celtics vs. Spurs Fan Banned For Throwing Drink ... Apologizes

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STICKY SITUATION
Courtesy of the NBA

2:59 PM PT -- Justin Arnold has broken his silence following the arrest ... owning up to the drink throw.

“I’m sorry to the Boston Celtics organization and TD garden for what I did," Arnold told WEEI. "It was unacceptable and I take full responsibility. I’ll never stop loving Boston”.

12:52 PM PT -- A spokesperson for the TD Garden tells TMZ Sports Arnold is now banned FOR LIFE for allegedly tossing the can onto the court.

"This act is a serious violation of our guest code of conduct," the spokesperson said.

Police say they've arrested a man who allegedly heaved his drink onto the court during the Celtics vs. Spurs game Wednesday ... identifying the guy as a 22-year-old and hitting him with disturbing a public assembly charge.

Late in the third quarter of the Celtics' game at TD Garden ... Kemba Walker was ejected for arguing a non-call.

The Boston superstar was cracked on a screenplay ... and when no whistle came -- he went IN on the refs.

It didn't take long for the point guard to get tossed from the game ... and when Celts head coach Brad Stevens also got ejected for arguing the call -- a fan was so pissed, he lobbed his drink onto the court.

You can see in the video, the can -- allegedly full of hard seltzer -- BARELY missed San Antonio Spurs players ... and splashed all over the hardwood.

Enes Kanter Gunning For WWE After NBA Career I'm Talkin' To Triple H!!!

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RETIREMENT PLAN
TMZSports.com

Enes Kanter already has a sick retirement plan in place when his NBA career comes to an end ... telling TMZ Sports he's already in talks to join WWE full time!!!

Of course, the Boston Celtics star is no stranger to the squared circle -- he VERY briefly held the 24/7 Championship at Monday Night Raw back in September, but then lost it moments later to R-Truth.

We spoke with the 27-year-old about his future plans with Vince McMahon's company ... and he says the wheels are already moving for a career in wrasslin'!!!

"I'm ready, I'm actually already talking to some people," Kanter tells us.

Oh, and by "some people," he doesn't mean *just* "some people" ... Kanter says he's met with Triple H and Paul Heyman ... and it's just a matter of WHEN not IF.

Kanter -- who is in his 9th season in the Association -- says he's still hoping to play at least 5-6 more years of hoops before he considers throwing on the spandex for the wrestling gig, so he's in no rush.

After all, the dude's made 90 MILLION in his career so far ... so we don't blame him.

Isaiah Thomas to BOS Fans Consider Kyrie's Mental Health ... Before Booing him

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THAT'S THE WAY IT GOES
TMZSports.com

Isaiah Thomas is siding with Kyrie Irving in his feud with Celtics fans ... saying the crowd should consider players' mental health before booing the hell outta them.

Remember, fans were pissed when Irving sat out his highly-anticipated return to Boston last week, chanting "Kyrie sucks" throughout the game.

Irving responded by RIPPING the fans, saying "This Game of Sports entertainment matters more than someone’s mental health and well being right? Or the real life things that happen to people everyday but they still have to Perform for the NBA and its fans? Right?"

You can read the whole thing below. Irving didn't hold back.

Enter IT -- who famously got a huge tribute from the Celtics in his first game back in Beantown -- and he tells TMZ Sports the fans should've thought things through before throwing out the boo birds.

"He might've been going through some real-life stuff," Thomas says. "I understand how the fans are, but you gotta take that into consideration."

IT points out the difference in their departures -- Thomas got traded when Kyrie decided to leave for Brooklyn -- but says regardless ... "You never know what he was really going through."

NBA Legend Bill Russell Ends Hall of Fame Boycott ... Finally Accepts Ring

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NBA legend Bill Russell -- one of the greatest basketball players ever -- has finally accepted his Hall of Fame ring after a 45-year boycott.

85-year-old Russell was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 -- but refused to participate in the induction ceremony. At the time, Russell cited "his own personal reasons," but didn't expand on it.

But, Thursday night, things changed ... Russell participated in a private ceremony with Alonzo Mourning, hoops legend/broadcaster Ann Meyers, Bill Walton, his wife and others to accept his HOF ring.

And, why? It all has to do with ex-NBA star Chuck Cooper, who in 1950 became one of the first black players to compete in the NBA. He was the first black player selected in the NBA Draft when the Boston Celtics took him with the 14th overall pick.

Cooper, who passed away in 1984, is FINALLY being inducted into the Hall ... which is what Russell has been waiting for all along.

"In ‘75 I refused being the 1st black player to go into the [Hall of Fame]. I felt others before me should have that honor. Good to see progress; ChuckCooperHOF19 @NBA."

As for Russell, you probably already know his stats -- 11-time NBA champion, 5-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star ... and the NBA Finals MVP Award is named after him.

A$AP Ferg Gifts Jaylen Brown $20k Chain Happy Birthday, Bro!!!

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BALLER BLING
Will Bling

Best birthday EVER?!?!

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown is fresh off a brand new, $115 MILLION deal ... and if that's not sweet enough, the baller got a sick, $20k chain from his good buddy, A$AP Ferg!!

TMZ Sports has learned ... the "Floor Seats" rapper wanted to do something extra special for his friend's birthday, so he hit up Big Will at WS Jewelry and the guys collabed to make him a one-of-a-kind piece.

We're told the piece comes with 15 carats of natural green and white diamonds shaped in Ferg's signature logo ... and it's worth around $20k.

The back of the pendant also features Jaylen's jersey number, 7, and his name.

The video is awesome ... Ferg and Big Will were there to celebrate with Brown ... and the dude had a BIG smile on his face when they presented him with the present.

Happy birthday!!

NBA's Tacko Fall 7'6 Center Hits Head on 'Low Ceiling' Enters Concussion Protocol

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File under -- Tall People Problems.

7'6" Boston Celtics rookie Tacko Fall has entered NBA's concussion protocol ... after the big man hit his head on a "low ceiling."

Fall -- who's quickly become a fan favorite in the league -- recently told MassLive the incident happened when he was washing his hands at the team facility after a workout ... and didn't notice a low ceiling.

The 23-year-old told the outlet that he hit his head, but didn't think anything of it until he woke up the next morning and wasn't feeling well.

Fall ended up in concussion protocol, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens says he should be okay soon.

Of course, the ex-UCF star told us back in April all about being a walking skyscraper ... saying he's always taller than the shower heads!!!

TACKO TIME
TMZSports.com

Gotta look out for those ceilings, Tacko!!!

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