Jermaine O'Neal Pacers Great Confused & Disappointed Team Letting Hield Wear #7

Jermaine O'Neal's one of the greatest Pacers ever, rocking number 7 during his 8 seasons in Indiana ... so when the 6x NBA All-Star found out Buddy Hield was switching numbers and wearing his old digit, O'Neal admitted he was bummed!

"I love Buddy and the work that he puts in. My statement has nothing to do with him," Jermaine wrote, providing a caveat for what would follow.

"It is disappointing to watch teams every year recognize and celebrate the players who have been the franchise's very best players on and off the court but yet Pacers don't. It's been confusing and disappointing to say the least!"

It's all a reaction to Hield, a former first-round draft pick (2016) who joined the Pacers in 2022, deciding to change numbers from 24 to 7.

Hield wore 24 with the Pelicans, Kings, and even Indiana last season. He also rocked 7 at Oklahoma, where he was one of the best players in the country.

During his time with the Pacers (2000-2008), O'Neal was a force on the court. He made 6 All-Star teams as a member of the Pacers, averaging nearly 19 points a game throughout his tenure with the team.

Earlier this year, the Indy Star compiled a list of the greatest players in the team's more than 55-year history, going back to the ABA in the mid-1960s ... and O'Neal was ranked 5th all-time.

Only two modern players were above Jermaine, Reggie Miller at 1, and Paul George at 4. Old timers Mel Daniels (2) and George McGinnis (3) rounded out the top 5.

Some lists even have O'Neal as high as the second greatest in organizational history, behind Reggie.

Hield, nor the Pacers, have addressed Jermaine O'Neal's comments ... at least not yet.

Pacers' Buddy Hield Fined $25,000 For Flipping Birdie ... During Hornets Game

Buddy Hield has just been fined $25,000 by the NBA ... and it's all 'cause he flipped off someone during the Pacers vs. Hornets game on Monday night.

League Exec Joe Dumars announced the punishment for the Indiana star on Wednesday afternoon ... after he was spotted shootin' the bird not once, but twice while on his team's bench.

The incident occurred with 11:30 left in the second quarter of the game ... as Hield was sitting next to Tyrese Haliburton.

Cameras showed Buddy appeared to be locked in on something ... before he discreetly tried to flash his left middle finger. Eventually, he just let the single-barrel salute fly.

Unclear who Hield was flipping off or what caused him to make the gesture ... but he seemed to crack a sly smile in the video, so it's possible it was all in jest.

Nevertheless, the NBA caught Hield red-handed ... and now, they're making the sharpshooter pay up for his actions.

NBA's Malcolm Brogdon Falls Into Fan Sitting Courtside ... Beer Spills Everywhere!!!

A fan sitting courtside was left crying over spilled beer at the Pacers game on Thursday ... after Malcolm Brogdon crashed into him and knocked over his drink!!

The party foul went down during the Pacers vs. Celtics matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on ... when the Boston guard fell right on top of him in the second quarter.

Brogdon was attempting to stop Bennedict Mathurin from scoring near the hoop ... but ended up fouling him instead.

During the play, Brogdon started to stumble into the crowd at the baseline, where a fan was holding two cups of beer. Despite Mathurin's best attempts to save him, the 6'5" guard collapsed right onto the guy.

The brew spilled EVERYWHERE ... but the good news is the fan was double-fisting, so one cup of beer was saved -- a feat the broadcasters hilariously praised during a replay.

"He was able to save the first one," one of the broadcasters said. "The one in his left hand -- not a chance."

The game was delayed for several minutes as the cleaning crew mopped up the booze ... 'cause ya can't have a bunch of players running around on a wet floor!

Despite the spill and delay, the fans got to witness a thrilling overtime game -- with a bit of trash talk going down between the players.

The Celtics ended up winning 142-138 and are currently leading the Eastern Conference.

Maybe get a lid next time, buddy!!

Ja Morant Shuts Down Reports Of Pacers Altercation ... 'Pretty Much False'

Ja Morant is downplaying reports that he and his friends got into an altercation with Indiana Pacers team members after a game last month ... saying the story is basically fake news.

The Memphis Grizzlies star spoke with the media on Tuesday -- the first time since The Athletic released a report claiming Morant's friends confronted "members of the Pacers traveling party" near the team's bus following a matchup at FedEx Forum on Jan. 29.

The report also stated someone in an SUV, which Morant was in, pointed a red laser at them ... and the Pacers team members believe it was attached to a gun.

The 23-year-old denied the allegations when he spoke with reporters at practice ... saying, "All that stuff pretty much false."

"It’s been proven. That’s all I got to say on it."

Morant emphasized how he doesn't care about the rumors going around ... and he won't entertain a report that's fishing for "likes and clicks."

"At this point in my life, I'm protecting my energy," Morant said. "Not responding to nobody else. Not entertaining nobody else."

The reporters attempted to get more from Morant on the situation ... but he refused.

He did provide one update from that game, though ... tweeting on Sunday that his friend, Davonte Pack, has been banned from home games after a verbal altercation with Pacers players.

The Pacers did not file a police report on the Jan. 29 incident ... but did inform the NBA, which launched an investigation.

Emily Ratajkowski Courtside at Knicks Game with New Man ... Eric Andre's There Too 👀


7:40 AM PT -- Turns out the mystery man is Eli Bronfman -- the super wealthy grandson of late billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. -- who was the chairman of Seagram.

Emily Ratajkowski's making Madison Square Garden the setting for her own little soap opera -- she and Eric Andre hit the Knicks game, but not together ... instead, she was with a mystery dude.

Emily and an apparent new date were chatting it up courtside Wednesday night as the Knicks defeated the rival Pacers, 119-113.

Mystery Man

The duo was definitely giving first-date vibes, but seemed to have some chemistry ... and even arrived together outside the Garden.

Once they were inside, the soap-esque plot twist became apparent ... as Eric was also enjoying the game.


The comedian didn't publicly make any contact with Emily -- with whom he recently went on a date -- but did do some celeb hype for the cameras and other Knicks fans.

It looks like he might've gotten the better seats than ER this time around, because he showed off his perfect view.

As we reported, Emily and Eric enjoyed a romantic evening together in NYC over the weekend, going out for food, drinks ... and presumably lots of laughs.

Emily's been super active on the dating scene since she filed for divorce from estranged husband Sebastian Bear-McClard in September ... the 31-year-old model's been linked to DJ Orazio Rispo, artist Jack Greer and, of course, Pete Davidson.


FYI -- Emily and Pete also hit up MSG in November, sitting courtside together after trying to maintain a low profile for a while.

LaMelo Ball Steps On Fan's Foot ... Badly Injures Ankle

LaMelo Ball might be out for the foreseeable future after he reinjured his ankle stepping on a courtside fan's foot ... and it's now got a lot of people wondering, is it time to push spectators back at NBA arenas??

Melo was attempting to corral a loose ball late in the Hornets' game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night ... when he accidentally landed on a man's foot who was parked just inches away from the court.

You can see in broadcast replays of the incident, as Ball was coming down on the guy's shoe, his ankle turned awkwardly ... and he was left in a heap of pain.

The 21-year-old -- who had previously missed time this season due to an injury on the same ankle -- raced to his bench while grimacing, before he eventually needed assistance to get back into the locker room.

Charlotte ended up losing the game, 125-113. Afterward, Hornets coach Steve Clifford did not have an update on his star's status.

It's the second time in less than two weeks that a participant on an NBA floor has had a mishap with a courtside fan. You'll recall, on Nov. 7, Meek Mill accidentally tripped a ref while his legs were extended in his seat.

It all begs the question ... is it time for NBA officials to move courtside fans back in the interest of player safety? So far, Adam Silver hasn't made the call -- but seems it might be necessary.

NBA's Jusuf Nurkić Fined $40K For Chucking Fan's Phone ... In Postgame Spat


11:57 AM PT -- Nurkic claims the altercation went down after the fan said "your mom is trash" and his "grandma’s a bitch," according to Yahoo Sports.


Nurkic announced back in August 2020 his grandma died of COVID-19.


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Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkić's wallet is now significantly lighter ... the NBA just fined him $40,000 for tossing a fan's phone in a confrontation after a game on Sunday.

The league announced the punishment Tuesday morning ... reprimanding the 27-year-old for his actions in a postgame spat with a Pacers supporter.

If you missed it, following Portland's 129-98 loss to Indiana at Gainbridge Fieldhouse ... Nurkić walked up to a fan, stared him down and then grabbed his phone and threw it.

Nurkić appeared to mutter some words to the guy -- before security ultimately separated them.

It's unclear what the fan said to piss off Nurkić -- but the NBA clearly didn't care either way, slapping him with the big fine.

Nurkić, who's been sidelined for several weeks while battling plantar fasciitis, has yet to address the incident publicly.

The Association, meanwhile, has been doling out a lot of fines like this one recently -- as NBA players have consistently fired back at fans throughout this season.

In fact, just days ago, Kevin Durant was hit with a $25,000 fine for cussing out a fan who was sitting courtside at a game earlier this month.

Originally Published -- 9:33 AM PT

NBA's Jusuf Nurkić Tosses Fan's Phone In Altercation ... After Game

Jusuf Nurkić didn't play a single minute Sunday night, but the Blazers big man got some action after the game ... walking over to a heckling Pacers fan and tossing his phone.

The incident went down following the Blazers' 129-98 blowout loss to Indiana ... when Nurkić apparently heard a fan say something he didn't like, confronted him with an intimidating stare-down, and chucked his cell.

The fan was completely shocked ... saying, "Why'd you throw my phone?"

Security staff intervened by stepping in between Jusuf and the fan ... and the Portland center ended up walking away before things escalated further.

It's unclear what exactly was said that led up to the altercation ... but it's clear whatever words were exchanged didn't sit well with the Bosnian hooper.

Nurkić -- who's sidelined at the moment due to plantar fasciitis -- wasn't required to talk to the media after the game ... so details surrounding what happened are minimal.

Nurkic's showdown with the fan is an ongoing theme this season -- NBA players have been clearly fed up with the hecklers "taking it too far" ... prompting the ballers to take matters into their own hands.

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Guys like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have had fans tossed from the arena ... and most recently, their teammate Russell Westbrook confronted a fan before a game for calling him "Westbrick."

On top of that, the NBA hit Kevin Durant's pockets for cussing at a fan last week, so it wouldn't be shocking if Nurkić was hit with a fine, too.

NBA Star Myles Turner Builds Titanic Replica ... 9,000 Lego Pieces!!!

NBA baller Myles Turner ain't a fan of bricks ... but he's still clearly cool with building things -- 'cause he just put together a Titanic replica using 9,000 Legos!!!

The Indiana Pacers center took to Twitter to show off the impressive feat ... revealing the finished plastic boat in a smiling photo.

No word on how long it took Turner to accomplish the task -- but check out the size of the piece -- it's nearly as big as the 6-foot-11 basketball player!!

"9,000 Pieces And Many Cuss Words Later…" Turner said of the boat in his post.

Of course, the achievement shouldn't shock anybody -- Turner is an avid Lego builder who's put together some seriously impressive things over the years.

In a video of his favorites that he posted to social media on Tuesday, Turner showed off that he's built a Death Star, a Batwing, a Disney castle and much more over the years.

As for his day job, Turner's pretty good at that too ... he's averaging 12.9 points per game this season as well as 2.8 blocks and 7.1 rebounds.

Jermaine O'Neal, Pacers We Were Called 'Thugs' After 'Malice At The Palace' ... 'Character In Question'

Ex-NBA star Jermaine O'Neal says the backlash following the infamous 'Malice At The Palace' was brutal and wrong ... claiming he and his teammates were labeled "thugs" after the brawl.

The 2004 incident between the Pacers, Pistons and fans in attendance is one of the most memorable moments in NBA history -- Metta Sandiford-Artest (Ron Artest at the time) rushed into the stands and fought a spectator after a drink was thrown at him ... and absolute chaos ensued.

Metta was suspended the rest of the season, Stephen Jackson was hit with a 30-game ban and O'Neal received a 15-game punishment for their involvement in the fight ... the biggest suspensions in NBA history.

Now, Stak and JO are reflecting on the brawl for the new Netflix series 'Untold' (which debuts Tuesday) ... saying the criticism they received after the event was unfair.

"Ron, Steve, JO, it's their fault," Jackson said. "They were being thugs! They were acting out of line!"

O'Neal added ... "Like all of a sudden, my character is in question."

"These are thugs and everybody else signing off, 'yeah, rap music' and this -- well they're not saying that when hockey is beating the hell out of each for decades."

O'Neal is seemingly highlighting the double standard that exists between the reaction to black basketball players getting in a fight and the same thing happening in a predominantly white sport.

Even though the incident happened nearly 20 years ago, the points O'Neal raises remain significant.

NBA's Caris LeVert Undergoes Successful Cancer Surgery ... Full Recovery Expected

Caris LeVert underwent surgery to remove a cancerous mass on his kidney Monday ... and the Pacers star guard is now expected to make a full recovery with no other procedures needed.

Indiana team officials made the announcement Tuesday ... saying LeVert is in good shape after docs diagnosed the 26-year-old with renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney earlier this month.

"The surgery was performed by Dr. Jason Sprunger at Community North Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind." the Pacers said in a statement.

"No further treatment is needed. Caris is expected to make a full recovery."

The team added LeVert will be out of Pacers games indefinitely while he recovers.

LeVert was sent to Indiana as part of the trade that put James Harden on the Brooklyn Nets ... and LeVert has credited the swap for possibly saving his life.

"I didn't have any symptoms," LeVert said after doctors discovered the growth on his kidney following a post-trade physical. "I was playing in games. I hadn't missed any games this season yet. I was feeling 100 percent healthy."

"So, in a way, this trade definitely showed and revealed what was going on in my body, so I'm definitely looking at it from that side and definitely humbled to know that this trade could've possibly saved me in the long run."

LeVert is expected to be a big-time player for Indiana when he makes it back to the floor ... in his last two seasons with Brooklyn, he averaged over 18 points per game with more than 4 assists and 3 rebounds per contest as well.

NBA's Alize Johnson's Mom 'Speechless' After Home Surprise ... 'It's Mind-Blowing!'


NBA forward Alize Johnson's mom says she was at a loss for words when she was gifted with a new house ... telling TMZ Sports she was BLOWN AWAY by her son's huge gesture.

As we previously reported, the 24-year-old Indiana Pacers player surprised his whole family with a new home in Williamsport, PA ... as a "thank you" for helping him reach his dreams as a professional NBA player.

We spoke with Johnson's mom, Chanelle, about the incredible moment ... and she broke down exactly what it was like to be surprised with the new digs!!

"I'm very proud, very proud and just speechless," Chanelle told us. "Speechless for the things that he's done and just his heart and his humility through the whole process."

"But, he's always been a humble kid but just to see him take care of us before his self is just -- it's mind-blowing."

As for who gets to decorate the new crib, the hooper says he only has a few requests.

"I told them, 'When we move in, listen. I don't care about anything but just let me deck the basement out and the outside pool and stuff like that,'" Johnson tells us.

@alizejohnson24 / Instagram

"That's the only thing I was concerned about but beautiful house, beautiful neighborhood and we're gonna have some good memories there and I'm looking forward to my siblings getting in there and having it to remember growing up."

Note to Alize's fam -- dude better be getting a good present this holiday season!!

NBA's Derrick Jones, Jr. Stretchered Off Court After Scary Collision

Frightening moment during the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers game ... when forward Derrick Jones, Jr. had to be stretchered off the court following a hard collision.

Jones -- the 2020 Slam Dunk champion -- collided with Pacers player Goga Bitadze in the second half of Friday's matchup ... when the center set a pick that sent DJJ to the ground.

Reporters on the scene say Jones, Jr. was lying face-down on the court for several minutes before he was put on a stretcher with a neck brace.

Jones -- who grabbed his neck as soon as he started falling to the ground -- was chasing forward Doug McDermott as he collided with Bitadze's shoulder.

No word on Derrick's status ... but here's hoping he's okay.

Jones has had a breakthrough season for the #4-seed Heat ... averaging 8.6 points a game.

NBA Mom Toya Holiday I've Got 3 Sons In the NBA ... LaVar Can Do It Too!!!


Jrue Holiday -- New Orleans Pelicans

Justin Holiday -- Memphis Grizzlies

Aaron Holiday -- Indiana Pacers

Yes, all THREE of Toya and Shawn Holiday's sons are CURRENTLY on NBA rosters -- it's an AMAZING feat -- and now, they've got some advice for LaVar Ball on how to make it happen for him!!!

Crazy part is ... Toya and Shawn actually KNOW LaVar and his family because of the UCLA connection -- where Aaron and Jrue played their college ball.

Remember, Lonzo played at UCLA ... and so did LiAngelo (for a short time).

So, how did Toya and Shawn help their kids make it all the way to the pros?

"We didn't get the 3 in there. They got THEMSELVES in there from their talent and hard work," Shawn tells TMZ Sports ... "We just kinda coached them."

Toya noted, "It's by God's grace."

But, when it comes to LaVar -- who's been highly criticized for the way he's managed his sons' careers -- the Holidays SUPPORT everything he's doing.

"I think as parents, you know your children. He has to do what he has to do to get his children there."

One question we didn't ask, which we should've, is ... WHAT THE HELL DO YOU FEED THREE NBA PLAYERS GROWING UP?!? ... that poor woman's refrigerator.

Metta World Peace & Ben Wallace UFC 229 Vs. Malice At The Palace? ... meh


Metta World Peace & Ben Wallace agree that Khabib & Conor's post-UFC 229 brawl was intense ... but neither man seems to think it was as bad as their infamous 2004 "Malice In The Palace" fight.

BTW -- both these guys absolutely LOVE talking about the "Malice at the Palace."

Actually, we were joking ... they really wish it would never be brought up again, but they still both ultra cool to our camera guy, so it is what it is.

We got Ben at LAX (a minor miracle) and Metta out on the streets of L.A. and asked them what they thought about the whole dustup, being that they're experienced.

Remember -- Ben and Metta weren't just involved in the Pacers vs. Pistons mega-fight, THEY GOT IT JUMPED OFF -- as the first two guys to go.

Ben was first ... saying he's not sure 229 was worse ... but that he's rooting for it.

"I hope something surpasses it, so we can stop talking about it."

We got Metta next, asked him his thoughts.

"It was a pretty epic fight, but there's always fights all the time."

One thing that's pretty clear ... neither guy thinks there should be too stiff a penalty for the dustup, with Metta saying there should be no action by the UFC at all ... as long Khabib plays nice.

"I would say, 'don't do it again,' and he won't do it again."

If only David Stern would've been so cool in '04.

Victor Oladipo To LeBron James: 'If You Want To Win, Come To Indy!'


Victor Oladipo's got the key for LeBron James to beat the Golden State Warriors next year ... and it only requires one thing from the King -- join the Pacers!!

We got the Indiana star leaving TAO on Monday night -- fresh off winning Most Improved Player at the NBA Awards -- and he told us all his squad needs in order to win a ring is a little LBJ.

Then, he gave us his best pitch to the NBA's top player.

"If you want to win, come to Indy!!"

Remember ... LeBron's been the reason the Pacers haven't advanced in the Eastern Conference Playoffs two years in a row -- so the move kills two birds with one stone for Oladipo.

Now ... if they DO get LeBron and DO score that elusive 'ship ... Victor told us he'd have to think long and hard about sitting out on a trip to the White House.

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