Nikola Jokic Playoff Pump Up Talk ... From Caron Butler


Caron Butler says there's a diamond in the rough in the NBA playoffs ... a guy he says is "so special" the Trail Blazers better not sleep on him -- and that dude is Nikola Jokic.

The 7-footer from Serbia has emerged a force to be reckoned with this season -- and Butler says it's no fluke.

"He's so special," Butler tells TMZ Sports ... "I spent some time with the Denver Nuggets and his versatility is just amazing because he's able to shoot the basketball, ultimately facilitate and he has a high basketball IQ. He's just tough to stop."

24-year-old Jokic put his talents on display during Game 1 of his series with Portland -- pounding the Blazers for 37 points, 6 assists and 9 rebounds.

Game 2 is set for Wednesday night -- and Caron expects more of the same ... Jokic domination.

He even dished out a mini-pump up speech for the guy ... not that he needs it!

Nick Young Investigated for Robbery ... Allegedly Struck Man in Genitals


NBA star Nick Young has been named a suspect in an alleged robbery that went down last week -- in which Swaggy's accused of striking a guy in his testicles and stealing his phone.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... the LAPD received a call on Jan. 4 from a man who claims he was assaulted by Swaggy P when he tried to take his photo at a popular L.A. car wash.

We're told the alleged victim does not appear to be a paparazzo -- just a basketball fan who recognized the former Lakers star and wanted a photo.

The man acknowledged Young didn't want to be photographed but he snapped a pic anyway -- and that's when Young snapped ... confronting the fan, allegedly firing off a nut shot and swiping the phone.

We're told cops took a report and are investigating. So far, no arrests have been made.

It's not the first time Young has been accused of wrongdoing -- he was arrested in August 2018 for obstruction of justice after he was pulled over by police.

And in 2016, Young was sued for allegedly attacking a man at a pickup basketball game at a church.

We've reached out to Young for comment -- so far, no word back.

Pete Davidson, MGK Chillin' at Nuggets Game

Pete Davidson's lookin' good these days ... chillin' with his buddy Machine Gun Kelly Saturday night at the Denver Nuggets game.

Pete and MGK were sitting courtside at the Pepsi Center in Denver, as they watched the Charlotte Hornets lose to Nuggets by a score of 110 to 123.

The two are best buds and have been hanging out a lot together recently. MGK was by Pete's side after the scary Instagram post last month, but all has been well since then. Pete was recently at one of Machine Gun Kelly's show ... hanging out for a time on stage.

Russell Westbrook Runs Into Michelle Obama

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Russell Westbrook had touched down in Denver -- getting ready to take on the Nuggets -- when all of the sudden ... BOOM, IT'S MICHELLE OBAMA!!!

The Oklahoma City Thunder star has a game Friday night at the Pepsi Center -- the same spot where Michelle O had a big event Thursday to promote her book, "Becoming."

Unclear who spotted who ... but Russ was definitely excited to see the former First Lady and posted the pic on Instagram.

"It was insane running into Michelle Obama. She has been such an inspiration to my family, and I can't wait to read her new book Becoming," Westbrook wrote.

The two have met before -- when they hugged it out at the 2012 Olympic Games in London when Russell and the rest of the Team USA basketball squad dominated France.

Michelle was sitting in the front row for the action and personally congratulated every single player -- from LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony.

And, get this, we've previously spoken with Westbrook about the possibility of the Obamas becoming owners of an NBA team -- and Russ told us he'd be 100% down to play for Barack and Michelle.


Kenneth Faried Arrested for Weed ... Mug Shot

Exclusive Details

Brooklyn Nets star Kenneth Faried was arrested and charged for possessing more than 2 ounces of weed on Sunday ... and TMZ Sports has the mug shot.

The 28-year-old was arrested on the Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton, New York at 1:30 AM ... after the vehicle he was riding in was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint.

A rep for the Southampton Town Police Dept. tells us the officer at the scene noticed a "strong odor of marjuana was emanating from the inside of the vehicle."

Faried was booked for 4th degree unlawful possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. He was transported to a nearby station for processing.

The other 2 people got tickets and were released at the scene.

Cops say Faried got the harsher charge because he was in possession of more than 2 ounces.

If convicted, Faried faces up to a year in jail ... for WEED.

The Nets released a statement to TMZ Sports, saying, “We are aware of the situation involving Kenneth Faried and are in the process of gathering more information at this time.”

Faried spent 7 seasons with the Denver Nuggets before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in July. He earned the nickname "The Manimal" from his physical style of play.

Isaiah Thomas I'll Prove I'm Healthy ... And Take Denver to Playoffs!


Isaiah Thomas tells TMZ Sports ... he's fired up to show the NBA he's healed up and back to the superstar he was -- and wants to prove in 2018 that he's worthy of a max contract.

Remember, the 2-time All-Star just signed a veteran's minimum, 1-year, $2 million contract with the Denver Nuggets ... and when we saw him at LAX, he explained why he took the deal.

"The goal is just to show that I'm healthy and I'm the same player I was before," Thomas said ... "I just need one year."

The 29-year-old has been battling hip problems since the 2017 playoffs -- but underwent surgery back in March and recently said he's feeling better than ever.

But, this 2018-19 season isn't all about him ... IT says he's ready to take his squad to new heights.

"We'll make the playoffs ... and then we'll go from there."

Thomas also had some comments about his old team, the Boston Celtics -- which traded him after a remarkable playoff run in 2017.

But, if you think he's bitter ... think again.

Amber Rose Settles Down With New NBA Player BF


Amber Rose and her new boyfriend, Monte Morris, are serious ... so serious they've decided they're gonna be in an exclusive, committed relationship.

Sources close to the couple tell us they recently started telling friends they're no longer dating other people. The first pics of them together in public surfaced this week.

We're told they met through mutual friends over a year ago, but only started hooking up last month ... long after she and 21 Savage broke up. Monte only told Amber how he felt AFTER he found out she was single.

Amber and Morris are spending almost every day together and, according to our sources ... they have amazing chemistry. Translation: everything's fresh and new.

Kenyon Martin Flirting Is Dead ... Men Abused It


Kenyon Martin says "there's no such thing as simple flirting" anymore ... and it's all because men have crossed the line too many times when it comes to picking up women.

The ex-NBA star says he's well aware of the problems many women face in the workplace and other areas in their lives when men come on way too strong ... and it's not right.

"Over the years, men have abused their power," Martin tells TMZ Sports.

So, what happens now? Martin has advice for young men, including NBA players -- "Be smart. Notice the signs."

"No means no! Some resistance? Gotta turn away."

Bottom line ... Kenyon says be respectful to women and you'll be fine.

NBA's Devin Harris I Got The Perfect Team For Dez Bryant


Listen up, Dez Bryant ... Nuggets guard Devin Harris is about to give you pro athlete to pro athlete advice on where you should end up, now that your time with the Cowboys is over.

Harris played in Dallas for YEARS and knows what it's like to leave big D behind, so when we got him in Beverly Hills we wanted to know if he had any potential landing spots in mind for Dez.

Devin says he has the perfect team ... and while you're gonna have to watch to see what he says, we'll be kind enough to give you some hints.

Hall of Fame QB (1st ballot lock) ... Bryant already has history there (infamous moment) ... he'll need some heavier coats if it happens ... and lastly, it's a spot close to Harris' heart.

Try to guess before you watch the video -- and remember if you cheat we won't know ... but you will.

Kenyon Martin Blasts George Karl 'Coward Ass Coach, Terrible Person'

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Kenyon Martin is UNLOADING on his former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl -- saying the guy is a "terrible person," "awful coach" and a "coward."

Martin is clearly furious with Carl over a new tell-all book the coach is about to drop -- in which Karl rips Kenyon as a "spoiled brat" and Carmelo Anthony as a famewhore and a "user of people."

Martin's immediate reaction -- "The Nerve of an AWFUL AND COWARD ASS COACH."

He continued, "Everyone that's played for that awful person and coach can't stand the ground he walks on."

"I didn't have a father going up. We all know that. What's George Karl excuse for being a terrible person."

There's more ...

"Since we were so bad as players. Tell him to forfeit those Denver wins. Having a lot of wins doesn't make you a good coach. He was blessed with great talent."

We're guessing this ain't done yet. Stay tuned ...

Denver Nuggets Stars Pre-Gameday Strip Clubbin' ... Throw That Money!


Nothing warms up your shooting arm like throwing bills in the strip club ... just ask Kenneth Faried and Will Barton who spent Thursday night makin' it rain in Dallas ... the night before they play the Mavs.

Multiple sources (and video) tell us the guys hit up VLive in Dallas ... where they got onstage and spent a combined $44,000 (Kenneth dropped $15k, Will dropped $29k).

At one point you can hear the DJ encouraging the guys to "shoot 3s" -- meaning throwing three $100 bills at the same time!

Don't worry about the guys ... the game doesn't start until 7:30 PM -- so they have plenty of time to recharge.

JaVale McGee & D.J. Swearinger NBA Star and NFL Star Unite To CRUSH L.A. Strip Club


What do a 7'0" center for the Denver Nuggets and a 5'10" safety for the Houston Texans have in common?

A love of dat ass ...

Cause JaVale McGee (the center) and D.J. Swearinger (the safety) were both at a L.A. strip club this past Monday CRUSHING it ... showing more than $16K on some of the hard working ladies.

The two stars hit up Ace Of Diamonds in L.A. -- the hottest new shake spot in the city -- and from what we're told the two went BANANAS inside the joint, spending some serious green on the ta-ta talent.

For those keeping count, our booty club sources say JaVale -- who makes about $12 mil-a-year -- dropped around $10K while D.J. -- who "only" banks about $800K a year -- precipitated an impressive $6K.

It ain't trickin' if you got it ...

Ty Lawson EMBARRESSES Laker With Sick Crossover

Dear Ty Lawson,

We get it. The Lakers are terrible. First, they lost to the Clippers on Thursday by a whopping 48. Then last night in Denver, you made Lakers guard Jodie Meeks FALL DOWN ON HIS ASS with an ill crossover dribble.

The video above (which was posted by the NBA's official account) shows the move from every angle imaginable.

This isn't the first time you clowned the boys in purple in gold. Last year you

to our cameras after beating the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Please, the citizens of Los Angeles beg of you ... take it easy on our boys next time.

'Christmas Story' Star Hits Miracle Half Court Shot ... Wins Nothing

Scott Schwartz -- who played the kid who got his tongue frozen stuck to a pole in "A Christmas Story" -- hit an UNBELIEVABLE half-court shot at a Denver Nuggets game ... and all he got was a lousy t-shirt.

Schwartz -- who also starred as the spoiled brat in the Richard Prior classic "The Toy" -- was brought on to the court Tuesday as a celebrity guest to goof around with the Nuggets mascot during a break in the action.

Things started off with the mascot sinking a crazy over the back half-court shot ... and then he handed the rock to Schwartz -- who NAILED a Kareem-style hook shot!!

Unfortunately, the shot wasn't a part of a contest ... so he didn't win anything (though Schwartz says the Nuggets were nice enough to give him a t-shirt and a cranberry juice).

Scott tells TMZ Sports ... there was NO WAY he thought he'd sink the shot on the first try -- but says, "I was always an athlete."

Nice shot.

Denver Nuggets Mascot PASSES OUT ... While Being Lowered From Rafters

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky the Mountain Lion's motionless body was lowered from the Pepsi Center ceiling last night before their home opener ... but the big mystery is why.

The plan called for Rocky to be lowered from the rafters with a spotlight on him ... but when his descent to the floor began -- Rocky didn't move a muscle ... and instantly collapsed when he touched the ground.

According to reports ... the guy in the suit was checked out right after and walked off the court on his own, but so far ... the team has been hush-hush on what happened.

Good news -- the team should have Rocky back for their next game.

Bad news -- the team got their asses kicked by the Blazers.

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