Kobe Bryant Memorial Could Be at L.A. Coliseum ... Staples Too Small

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Kobe Bryant's public memorial could be such a massive event, organizers are considering holding it at the famous L.A. Coliseum because the Staples Center simply isn't big enough.

Our sources tell us ... a meeting took place this week to discuss where Kobe's eventual memorial might go down in the coming weeks or even months. People who were in the room say a few venues were considered -- some made more sense than others.

Of course, the Staples Center is considered "The House That Kobe Built" -- but it only holds around 20,000 people ... and judging by the massive response to his death, organizers feel they should be ready for a MUCH larger crowd.

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The Coliseum holds roughly 80,000 people -- and the surrounding parks are capable of holding many, many more. It seems the most logical option at this point.

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The Rose Bowl was also brought up as a possible venue -- since it holds nearly 91,000 -- but we're told Pasadena is just too far away.

Our sources say no official decision has been made yet, but the conversation is underway. As for Kobe's funeral service, no decisions have been made about that either.

GOING THROUGH THE WRECKAGE
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It could be some time before the memorial is booked because everyone in Kobe's immediate life is still shattered and reeling from the tragedy.

Kobe was just 41 when he died Sunday. His daughter, Gianna, who also passed away in the helicopter crash, was only 13.

Kobe Helicopter Crash New Photos of Massive Fireball Moments After Impact

New images from the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site prove what NTSB investigators are saying -- there was no chance for survival -- as the aircraft burst into a huge ball of flames.

These photos were taken by a mountain biker who was on a nearby trail when the helicopter slammed into the hillside around 9:45 AM Sunday. The biker says he took the pics at 9:49 AM ... which explains why the flames are so intense in these photos.

You can also see the debris field ... which L.A. County Sheriff's deputies are now patrolling, on horseback and ATVs, to protect the area from looters.

As we reported, the Sikorsky S-76 was at about 1,700 feet when it crashed. Flight tracker data also shows the chopper's speed was about 161 knots. Several experienced pilots tell us they're baffled the pilot, Ara Zoboyan, was going that fast in heavy fog.

In the seconds prior to crashing, Zobayan took the helicopter from 1200 feet to 2000 feet within a matter of seconds. It appears he cleared one hillside, only to strike the next.

All 8 passengers -- Kobe, his daughter, Gianna, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser -- and the pilot perished.

Jamie Foxx Pays Emotional Tribute to Kobe ... 'He Lived Legendary'

FOREVER A LEGEND
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Jamie Foxx, like the rest of the world, is still in shock over Kobe Bryant's death -- that's obvious in this video -- but he mustered the strength to honor the "legendary" baller.

The Grammy and Oscar winner was out Monday night leaving Tao in Hollywood when a photog asked if he had any words for Kobe's family. and friends. He got a bit choked up, but then spoke earnestly about how Kobe "made us think about love."

Jamie went on to get pretty deep -- talking about Kobe's transition from being a "legend" in life to what he can be now. He also talked about God's plan, and doubts people might have in the wake of such a tragedy.

TMZ Sports broke the story ... Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others perished Sunday when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in Calabasas.

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Jamie himself took to Instagram Monday and dedicated 6 different posts to Kobe, Gianna and the rest of the victims.

LeBron James Emotional Goodbye To Kobe Bryant 'I Promise You I'll Continue Your Legacy'

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LeBron James says he can't stop crying over the death of his great friend, Kobe Bryant ... saying in an emotional goodbye letter, "I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!!"

James penned the words in a lengthy social media post Monday night ... addressing Bryant's death for the first time since Mamba, his daughter, Gianna and 7 other people were killed in a tragic helicopter crash Sunday.

"Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!" James said.

"I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have."

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James and Bryant had a friendship that dated back more than a decade ... the two were competitors in the NBA for years and were teammates on Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The two obviously grew closer when LeBron left Cleveland for Los Angeles in 2018 ... and, in fact, Kobe's last-ever post on social media was congratulating Bron for passing him on the NBA's all-time scoring list over the weekend.

"Man I love you big bro." Lebron said in his letter to Kobe. "My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this sh*t on my back and keep it going!!"

LeBron added, "Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾"

Kobe Bryant NBA Postpones Lakers Vs. Clippers ... UConn Honors GiGi

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3:10 PM PT -- The UConn Huskies Women's basketball team is honoring Gianna prior to Monday night's game against Team USA ... by draping a #2 jersey on a chair with a bouquet of flowers.

Of course, GiGi was determined to play for the Huskies ... with Kobe even saying she was "hellbent on UConn."

Along with the jersey tribute, a message honoring the Bryant family was displayed on the video boards.

The NBA has officially postponed Tuesday night's Lakers vs. Clippers game at Staples Center in L.A. out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is reeling from the death of Kobe Bryant.

"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday," the NBA said in a statement.

"The game will be rescheduled at a later date."

LeBron James was seen sobbing when he got off the Lakers' team plane at LAX on Sunday following a game in Philadelphia against the Sixers.

We've been told several players, staffers and other Lakers employees -- many of whom have known Kobe for years -- are simply inconsolable and not ready to go to work.

Kobe played for the Lakers for 20 years and built lasting relationships with so many people.

Kobe Bryant, Daughter GiGi Die in Helicopter Crash ... 3 Bodies Recovered

12:05 PM PT -- Officials say they have recovered three bodies from the crash site -- but have not specified on the IDs of those bodies. Officials worked well into the night on Sunday but had to suspend the search due to darkness and safety concerns. The search resumed Monday morning. No word on if any other bodies have recovered in Monday's search.

6:11 AM PT -- 1/27 -- All 9 people on the helicopter have been identified ...

Kobe Bryant (41), Gianna Bryant (13), John Altobelli (56), Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester (45), Payton Chester (13), Christina Mauser and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.

Mauser was an assistant coach of the Mamba girls’ basketball team.

5:55 PM PT -- TMZ Sports has obtained some of the last photos taken of Kobe Bryant with his daughter, Gianna, and it's clear they both had basketball on the brain in one of their final moments together.

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The pics were shot Saturday at Kobe's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where Gigi's Mamba team played two 8th grade girls games that day. You can see KB watching carefully from the sideline as Gianna was on the court.

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At one point, Kobe was seen giving his kid some tips. It's unclear if he's the head coach of her current squad or not, but he was definitely in coaching mode from what we can tell. We know he's coached other teams she was on in the past. Kobe said Gianna had aspirations to be in the WNBA, and by all accounts ... she was well on her way to getting there.

One thing that's pretty obvious from this snapshot moment is that they were both fierce competitors and loved the game they played.

4:56 PM PT -- The Mayor of Costa Mesa, Katrina Foley, just confirmed the identity of one of the other victims in the helicopter crash ... girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, who's married to Tijuana Dogs singer Matt Mauser. Matt also confirmed the news himself.

On Facebook, he wrote ... "My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much."

4:30 PM PT -- L.A. weather was extremely foggy Sunday morning, and law enforcement sources tell us even LAPD air support was grounded because of it. Flight tracker data shows Kobe's chopper appeared to first encounter weather issues as it was above the L.A. Zoo. It circled that area at least 6 times at a very low altitude -- around 875 feet -- perhaps waiting for the fog to clear.

FLIGHT TOWER AUDIO

We know the pilot contacted the control tower at Burbank Airport around 9:30 AM PT, and the tower was aware the pilot had been circling for about 15 minutes.

THE FLIGHT PATH
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The pilot eventually headed north along the 118 freeway before turning to the west, and started following above the 101 freeway around Woodland Hills, CA.

At around 9:40 AM they encounter more weather -- as in seriously heavy fog -- and the chopper turned south. This was critical, because they turned toward a mountainous area. The pilot suddenly and rapidly climbed from about 1200 feet up to 2000 feet.

However, moments later -- around 9:45 AM -- they flew into a mountain at 1700 feet. Flight tracker data shows they were flying at about 161 knots.

3:49 PM PT -- Michael Jordan has spoken on Kobe's death, saying ... "I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe's and Gianna's passing. Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling. I loved Kobe -- he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much."

He adds, "He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply -- and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world."

3:01 PM PT -- The players, coaches and families at the Mamba Academy were obviously emotional when they heard the news about Kobe's death ... but came together for a moment of silence and prayer.

AT THE ACADEMY
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Some of the Academy leaders addressed everyone at the facility -- encouraging them to support each other, grieve together and honor Kobe by living good, quality lives.

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Kids, parents and fans left a shrine to Kobe outside the Academy's doors.

2:40 PM PT -- Officials say they believe 9 people were on board -- 1 pilot and 8 passengers -- and there were no survivors. Still unclear why the chopper crashed but an investigation is underway.

2:42 PM PT -- Authorities say responders had to hike to get to the crash scene. When they finally got to the incident site, it was clear no one survived.

LeBron James Powder Snub Was No Coincidence ... Says Kenny Smith

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POWDER PUFF
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LeBron James wasn't able to do his trademark pregame chalk toss before facing off against the Nets ... and Kenny "The Jet" Smith says this is a case of SABOTAGE!!!

The King was upset before tip-off on Thursday when he approached the scorers table and realized he wouldn't be able to do his iconic ritual. Naturally, the moment went viral.

TMZ Sports spoke with The Jet about the mishap ... and he says the lack of powder was no coincidence -- it's home-court advantage!!

"I remember when we used to play, they would always do things to make you uncomfortable, the opposing team," Smith said at LAX.

"That's what the home-court advantage is."

Smith says LeBron better hit up Costco and get that powder in bulk ... 'cause the Nets' snub might start a trend.

"Ya gotta carry your own powder ... I'm surprised no other team has thought of it."

Smith says it was 1,000% on purpose ... but it didn't really make a difference -- Bron Bron had a triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists AND the Lakers won, 128-113.

But still ... get your own chalk, bruh.

Bill Clinton Daps Up LeBron & AD ... At Lakers Game

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PRESIDENTIAL BROMANCE
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See, President Obama ain't the only ex-Prez into hoop ... check out Bill Clinton at the Lakers game!!

#42 was sitting courtside at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday to watch the Nets get smashed by the L.A. Lakers ... and judging by the smile on his face, Bill loved it!

After the game, Clinton went on to the floor and chopped it up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis ... and yeah, that's Michael Strahan right behind 'em!

In fact, 73-year-old Clinton kicked it with a ton of stars at the game -- including Matt Barnes, Dwight Howard, Marv Albert and more.

It doesn't appear Hillary was at the game -- unclear what she was doing instead.

The Lakers are still in 1st place in the NBA's Western Conference ... winning 8 out of their last 10.

The Nets have lost 5 in a row ... and have only won 2 out of their last 10.

Vanessa Hudgens I Can't Get Enough Kuzma ... Gotta Watch Him Ball!!!

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Vanessa Hudgens seems pretty interested in Kyle Kuzma ... because she's hitting up the world's most famous arena to watch him ball out!!!

The newly-single actress just pulled up to Madison Square Garden to check out Kyle and his Los Angeles Lakers as they take on the New York Knicks ... this after hanging out the night before.

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TMZ broke the story ... Vanessa and Kyle sat down together Tuesday night for a super-intimate dinner in Brooklyn, laughing and having a great time over a bottle of wine.

So, it looks like Vanessa is going back for a second helping of Kuzma. She's definitely dressed to impress, just check out those boots!!!

As you know ... Vanessa is fresh off her split from Austin Butler. The exes dated for 9 years, and she seems intent on putting Austin firmly in the rearview.

The big question now ... did Kuz hook Vanessa up with tix, and will she be a good luck charm?!?

Robert Horry Only 'Idiots' Use Championships ... To Measure Greatness

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DUMB LOGIC
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"All these other idiots who don't play basketball and never played basketball, when they say you wanna judge a guy's greatness by number of championships ... they're idiots."

It's safe to say Robert Horry is fed up with NBA fans using rings instead of common sense in debates ... telling TMZ Sports titles don't mean a damn thing when talkin' G.O.A.T.s.

"Here's the thing that people are so stupid about. They measure great players by how many championships they win. It's the stupidest thing," Big Shot Bob told us at the California Strong charity softball game on Sunday.

Of course, the reason we brought it up with Horry is because his old teammate, Kobe Bryant, recently joined the "All The Smoke" podcast and admitted he's "pissed" he didn't catch Michael Jordan in the ring count.

But, Horry says the whole debate over championships is pointless ... 'cause not everyone is able to win in their careers.

"That's like saying Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing are not great players."

Horry points out using that logic would make him one of the greatest hoopers to ever walk the earth, considering he's got 7 championships.

Big Shot Bob says Kobe having one less ring than MJ should have ZERO impact on his legacy ... but admits Mamba has always compared himself to Jordan.

We also asked Horry which of his 7 title runs was his favorite ... and you'll have to check out the clip to get his answer.

Lakers' Alex Caruso All-Star Votes Keep Piling Up!!! ... More Than Russ, Steph

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The Carushow may be making a stop in Chicago ... 'cause the 3rd round of NBA All-Star Game fan votes have been released ... and Alex Caruso is near the top of the list!!!

FYI, fans account for 50% of the overall All-Star voting. NBA players account for 25% and a media panel gets 25%.

The L.A. Lakers guard has become a phenomenon in the NBA over the past few seasons ... there have been memes, highlight reels and a bunch of other tributes to the 25-year-old from his cult following.

It's gotten to the point where LeBron James even calls his teammate the "G.O.A.T." every time they run into each other.

Caruso Mania has taken another step on Thursday ... 'cause the beloved player has gotten more All-Star fan votes than superstars like Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry (who has only played 4 games this season due to injury), Devin Booker and Donovan Mitchell in the West.

As of this post, Alex has more than 894k fan votes!!! Seriously, the dude's even beating guys in the East like Kyle Lowry, Ben Simmons and Bradley Beal.

Yes ... it's that wild.

FYI -- 5 starters and 7 reserve players get picked for the game ... and Caruso is currently 4th in the conference for guards.

Realistically, Caruso probably won't make the final All-Star squad ... but it's fun to watch!!

Oh, and the "Bald Eagle" ain't the only fan favorite getting major love ... the 7'6" Boston Celtics giant Tacko Fall is still a possibility to make it in the East ... he's 6th in the frontcourt with more than 757k fan votes!!!

KEEP VOTING, PEOPLE!!!!

Kim K and Kanye Watch Lakers Smash Tristan Thompson ... Courtside at Staples

2:46 PM PT -- Kim just tweeted about the game, saying, "I was there to support him! And was cheering screaming LETS GO TRISTAN!!!!! I would never boo anyone. I don't go to hate, only to cheer!"

8:54 AM PT -- Sources tell us Kim and Kanye were at the game to support Tristan. There's a video on social media of Kim "boo'ing" Tristan during free throws, but we're told it was simply in good fun. As for their courtside seats, our sources say Kim and Kanye got those independently, they weren't a hookup from TT.

TROLLIN' TRISTAN
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Think Kim Kardashian takes pleasure in watching her sister's ex take an L in public??? HELL YEAH, SHE DOES!

Check out the smiles on Kim and Kanye's faces during the Lakers game Monday night -- grinning from ear to ear as LeBron and company put a beatdown on Tristan Thompson's Cleveland Cavaliers in a 128 to 99 shellacking!

Kim even posted a pic of Tristan on the court on her IG.

For the record, Tristan and Khloe Kardashian seem to be on decent terms these days -- but with all the drama he put her through, it must still be fun to watch him get wrecked on the court.

There were a TON of stars at Monday's game -- from Halsey and Courteney Cox to Judge Mathis and Emily Ratajkowski ... even Lily Collins and boxing star Gervonta Davis.

Andrew Yang Recruits LeBron For 2020 Campaign 'Let's Work Together!!!'

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MEET ME ON THE COURT
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Andrew Yang is looking to get a King's endorsement for his 2020 presidential campaign ... telling TMZ Sports he wants LeBron James on his side!!

The entrepreneur-turned-Democratic candidate already has a solid list of celeb backing -- from Donald Glover to Elon Musk to Rivers Cuomo from Weezer -- but no big-time athletes ... yet.

Considering Yang's a big NBA fan, we asked -- hypothetically -- which baller he'd most want as his running mate ... and it took him like, a millisecond to give us his answer.

"I'd have to go with LeBron James," Yang tells us. "He's already shown he's got a heart of gold and loves the American people."

Yang showers the Lakers superstar with praise and throws some major shade at President Trump in the process ... saying, "He certainly could do better than the guy who's currently there."

Of course, Bron has shown support for Hillary Clinton in the past ... and even introduced her at a rally in Ohio.

LBJ has also made his feelings about POTUS crystal clear ... calling him a "bum" and a clown since #45 began his presidency.

Yang thinks LeBron would be a great addition to his team ... and gives him a personal message.

"LeBron, if you're watching ... let's work together."

Jack Nicholson Bros Out With Tory Lanez ... at L.A. Lakers Game

Rare Jack Nicholson sighting at Staples Center on Tuesday -- where the Hollywood legend returned to his old stomping grounds to watch the Lakers crush the Knicks.

... and during the game, he became BFFs with rap star Tory Lanez!

Remember, 82-year-old Jack used to be a regular at Lakers games -- and was even considered the Lake Show's #1 fan!

But, a few years ago, when the Lakers were in the thick of sucking ass ... Jack basically stopped going to games and even offered to sell his floor seats to TMZ (we couldn't afford 'em).

I'M DONE HOLDING COURT
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Good news though ... the Lakers are GOOD AGAIN (they're in 1st place in the West) and Jack is excited enough about LeBron James and co. to return to his courtside seats!

You can see in the pic, Jack and Tory became fast friends -- the 3rd guy in the pic is fashion mogul Umar Kamani. Jack's 27-year-old son, Ray Nicholson, was also there!

A bunch of other big stars came out for the game including Jimmy Iovine, Michael Che, Hannibal Burress, Andy Garcia and more!

Final Score -- 117 to 87, with LeBron dropping 31 points in 31 minutes.

Maybe we'll start seeing Jack more often!

Myles Garrett Sits Courtside With LeBron's Buddies ... At Laker Game

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Hey, look everybody!! Myles Garrett!!

The suspended Cleveland Browns superstar made a rare public appearance at the L.A. Lakers game at Staples Center on Sunday ... and he was pretty easy to spot -- wearing a bright orange jacket.

Of course, Garrett has been almost completely MIA since his infamous helmet-throwing attack on Mason Rudolph back in November ... and aside from a charity appearance for Thanksgiving, the dude's been keepin' it lowkey.

DIRTY PLAY
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But, the hiding came to an end Sunday ... with the 24-year-old posting up with LeBron James' best friends and business partners, Rich Paul and Maverick Carter, as the Lake Show put up a dub against the Detroit Pistons.

Was it a business meeting?? Possibly ... with Myles being one of the biggest stars in Cleveland now that King James is in L.A., anything is on the table.

As for the game, the Lakers won again, 106-99, and Anthony Davis and LeBron combined for 45 points ... making their record 29-7 on the season.

Yeah, they're good.

LeBron James Happy 35th Birthday!!! ... Celebrates with Cake and Strippers

BIRTHDAY BASH

LeBron James celebrated his 35th year on earth in grand fashion.

LeBron's party was swanky -- black tie and gowns. It started at the famed Sunset Tower hotel on the Sunset Strip, and some of LeBron's teammates, including Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Jared Dudley, Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma. Al Harrington, Cuttino Mobley and 2 Chainz were also front and center, along with LeBron's wife, Savannah.

LeBron was smokin' a huge stogie and chowin' down on a 3-layer cake, along with his guests.

That wasn't the end of the evening. The group moved the party to Crazy Girls strip club in Hollywood. Savannah joined LeBron and crew for some late-night fun.

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It's interesting ... the inscription on the cake read "LBJ." So, these days ... who's more identifiable with the letters, LBJ ... LeBron or former Prez Lyndon Baines Johnson?

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