Kobe Bryant Lakers Ring Gifted To Dad For Sale Expected To Fetch $250K!!

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The L.A. Lakers 14k gold & diamond championship ring that Kobe Bryant gifted to his father just hit the auction block and it's expected to bring in a QUARTER-MIL!!

Here's the deal ... 20 years ago -- following Los Angeles' title-winning '99-'00 season -- Mamba bought 2 additional rings and gifted them to his parents, Pamela and Joe "Jellybean" Bryant.

The rings are IDENTICAL to the bling Kobe, Shaq, and the rest of the Lakers squad received.

We're talking real gold and 40 diamonds on each massive ring.

Goldin Auctions -- who recently sold Pamela's ring for $206k -- is now offering "Jellybean's" ring ... and GA tells us they expect it to sell for over $250,000.

FYI, Pamela and Joe sold the rings -- along with other memorabilia -- back in 2013 for a total of $280,000.

And, get this, there's more awesome Kobe swag for sale:

- Kobe Bryant worn and signed cast from when he broke his wrist during the preseason in 1999. Expected to bring in about $20k.

- A 1996-1997 Topps Chrome Refractors Kobe Bryant rookie card (a very rare card). Expected to go for around $75k.

- A Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant signed basketball. Expected to sell for $20k to $25k.

The market for Kobe collectibles has always been high -- but right now, enthusiasts are clearly motivated and willing to shell out the big bucks to have something special in their collections to remember the NBA legend.

NBA's Shawn Marion Against Boycotting Season To Protest 'What'll That Accomplish?!?'

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Ex-NBA star Shawn Marion says the LAST thing players should do is sit out the 2020 season ... saying sitting out will diminish their chances at making a bigger difference in the fight against racism.

Superstars like Kyrie Irving have expressed their uncertainty over restarting the season in the middle of the Black Lives Matter movement ... with the Nets star saying players' focus should be on fighting for social justice.

Ex-NBAer Stephen Jackson -- who was friends with George Floyd -- sided with Kyrie ... saying, "now ain't the time to be playing basketball, y'all."

BIGGER THAN BASKETBALL

But, the Matrix disagrees with the idea of sitting out ... saying the biggest platform to fight for social justice is on the NBA stage.

"In order for you to advocate and go out here and show what you're fighting for and the causes, you need to be on TV," Marion says.

"Social media is a great platform, but TV is a bigger platform because you can post whatever you post on TV, you can post to your social media platform."

"So, with the season resuming, it adds to that cause."

Matrix -- who acknowledges Uncle Drew has a valid point -- says players will be able to speak out in interviews and press conferences ... which brings a much bigger audience than a Twitter account.

But, as for sitting? -- "I don't agree with that."

"What is sitting out, boycotting, not playing the season -- what is that gonna accomplish really?"

Marion says the most effective way to make a change is economically ... and that starts with bringing ball back in July.

Lakers' Jeanie Buss Exposes Horrific Hate Mail ... from Vile Racist

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"Dear Whore ... "

That's how it began -- a disgusting piece of hate mail some racist coward sent to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss -- and now she's calling him out publicly.

"After 60 years as a huge Lakers fan, I now say to hell with the overpaid n***** traitors and the NBA."

"Go to hell and join **** Kobe Bryant."

The letter was signed by a man named Joe.

Jeanie says she thought a lot about what to do with the letter after receiving it on Monday -- but ultimately decided to post it on social media "so that everyone can see the hate is real and living out there."

"This is happening in our world TODAY. It's real and it exists."

Buss also posted a message to Joe ...

"Did sending this letter make you feel better? Really all you did was waste your time, and energy and your postage stamp. (But thank you for including your return home address) Why don’t you look in the mirror and see your ugliness because I refuse to."

Jeanie says she's received similar letters over the years and always thought it was best to just ignore the haters -- "but not anymore."

"On this day, Juneteenth, I ask my white friends to join together, acknowledge the racism that exists in our country and around the world, and pledge to stop ignoring it. We all must do better."

Jeanie's post is already resonating with LeBron James -- who showed his support for Buss on Instagram.

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."

Mark Cuban On Mavs Players Kneeling 'Hopefully I'd Join Them'

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Mark Cuban has changed his tune -- saying he no longer "expects" his Mavs players to stand for the national anthem ... and he's even considering kneeling with them.

"If [Dallas Mavericks players] were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I'd be proud of them," Cuban said Thursday on "Outside the Lines" ... "Hopefully I'd join them."

Remember, back in 2017 ... Cuban said while he respects people who speak out civilly, he "expects" his players to stand for the anthem with their hands over their hearts.

So, why the change of heart from the Mavs owner in 2020?

"Because I think we've learned a lot since 2017. I think we've evolved as a country," Cuban explained.

"And, this is really a unique point in time where we can grow as a society, we can grow as a country and become far more inclusive."

Current NBA rules state that players and coaches must stand for the national anthem … but Cuban thinks it's time for a change.

When the NBA season does resume next month, Cuban says he hopes league officials will NOT punish players for whatever demonstrations they have in mind.

"Hopefully, we'll allow players to do what's in their heart. Whether it's holding their arm up in the air, whether it's taking a knee, whatever it is, I don't think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country."

"I think this is more a reflection of our players' commitment to this country and the fact that it's so important to them that they're willing to say what's in their heart and do what they think is right."

Ultimately, Cuban says he'll defer to NBA commish Adam Silver -- but notes, "My hope is we'll let the players do exactly what they think is the right thing to do."

Vanessa Bryant Championing 'Kobe & Gianna Helicopter Safety Act' ... We Can Save Lives

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Vanessa Bryant is rallying politicians to get behind the "Kobe and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act" ... a bill outlining safety measures she claims will "save many lives."

The KGBHSA was formally introduced by lawmakers on Thursday -- and would require choppers that carry 6 or more people to contain important safety equipment including a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder.

Vanessa immediately threw her support behind the bill -- saying, "I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country."

"I believe there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna would still be alive today if their helicopter had been equipped with the safety equipment required by this pending federal legislation."

She added, "I believe that these safety measures will save many lives."

"As passengers traveling on aircrafts we assume that proper safety measures are in order to prevent accidents from happening before we fly. It's unfortunate that this is not the case and aircraft companies must do their part to protect lives."

Kobe, Gianna and 7 other people died on January 26 when their helicopters crashed in Calabasas, CA.

As we previously reported, officials believe the pilot might've been disoriented by the thick fog in the area that day.

Vanessa is also pushing for the helicopter industry to "consider renaming the black box to Mamba 8 Box in honor of the 3 young Mamba team players, the 2 Mamba coaches and the 3 Mamba parents onboard, equaling 8."

Story developing ...

UNLV Legend Isaiah Rider 'Hey Reb!' Statue Needed To Go ... Proud Of My School!

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Isaiah "J.R." Rider says UNLV's 'Hey Reb!' statue -- with ties to the Confederacy -- had to be removed ... telling TMZ Sports he's proud his alma mater "did the right thing."

Rider was an absolute beast at University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the early '90s... and was named an All-American in 1993. J.R. was the 5th overall pick in the NBA Draft.

We asked the former superstar hooper how he felt about UNLV yanking the popular giant bronze statue from the place it sat for years on campus.

"I'm proud. I think it's the right thing to do personally," Rider tells us, continuing ... "I think it was well done, on time, no need to delay, no need to think about it."

The former UNLV star kept it real when asked how he felt about the statue (and Runnin' Rebel mascot) when he was playing ball for the university ... saying he didn't know about all the baggage associated with the Rebel.

"Honestly, in school, I wasn't aware. I wasn't as conscious as I am now, as woke as I am now, as well-read as I am now."

But, Rider says after school he became educated on the issue ... and realized the name and statue were offensive.

"At the time at UNLV, no it didn't bother me at all. I was a 'Runnin' Rebel.' It didn't bother me at all but later in life, as I learned certain things, like the Redskins mascot, I started to have a problem with that for sure."

FYI, the "Rebel" was originally named after a Confederate general named Beauregard ... who ordered the Civil War's first gunshots, according to a Change.org petition demanding UNLV change the current mascot.

We also asked Rider what he'd say to UNLV fans who have lived-and-died with the "Runnin' Rebels" teams for years ... and are kinda bummed to see the school lose that identity.

"I would say to my people, my 'Runnin' Rebels' out there, that look, we're UNLV for life. When we talk, I always say UNLV. I never say 'Runnin' Rebel.' Not only because I don't really like it but I'm UNLV and we are UNLV for life and that doesn't change."

"We're UNLV Runnin', we're gonna drop the last part!"

Kobe Bryant Crash Pilot Might've Been Disoriented by Fog ... Investigators Say

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Kobe Bryant's helicopter pilot was most likely severely disoriented by fog seconds before slamming into a hillside in January -- that's what federal investigators are now saying.

In new documents released Wednesday ... NTSB officials say they have evidence showing Ara Zobayan thought he was ascending when the chopper was actually going downward.

In the docs, investigators claim moments before the crash ... Zobayan told air traffic control he was "climbing to four thousand," and air traffic control asked him what he intended to do once he got to that altitude.

The NTSB says Zobayan never responded -- he had crashed by that point. Interestingly, according to the docs, the helicopter was actually descending rapidly at the time Zobayan said he was climbing.

Investigators add they believe "the pilot could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles" due to the dense fog in the area.

As we previously reported, Zobayan, Bryant and seven others on board hit the the ground at 184 MPH ... instantly killing everybody.

Autopsy results showed Zobayan was NOT high on alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash ... and in the new docs, investigators say Zobayan's girlfriend told them he was in great shape before the accident.

Vanessa Bryant and surviving family members of other passengers have sued the Zobayan and Island Express, which chartered the helicopter.

Various pilots have said Zobayan should not have been flying at such a high rate of speed in blinding fog.

It should be noted, investigators did NOT reveal an official conclusion on the cause of the crash. A final NTSB report with that information is expected to be released later.

NBA's Kendrick Perkins Rips Kyrie Irving 'You Are The Distraction!!!'

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"If you take Kyrie Irving's brain and put it in a bird right now ... it's going to fly backwards."

Kendrick Perkins just EVISCERATED Kyrie Irving on national television ... ripping the Brooklyn Nets star for urging NBA players to back out of finishing the season in Orlando.

If you missed it, Kyrie said he wanted his league to be done with the 2020 season already so its players could keep the spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement.

But, Perkins called BS on that on ESPN's "Get Up" Tuesday ... saying he believes Irving took the stance because the NBA wouldn't allow him to be a bystander in the Florida bubble as an injured player.

Although, Perkins said he'd give Kyrie the benefit of the doubt ... but still blasted him for putting the idea out there without thinking two steps ahead.

"What is the plan after that? He didn't have one!" Perkins said. "So once again, that showed his lack of leadership."

Kendrick says he believes Kyrie has taken away from the BLM movement with his statements ... going scorched-earth on the former champ in a nearly three-minute rant.

"Kyrie Irving, right now, you are the distraction!" Perkins said. "You're distracting the whole situation. It's crazy to me."

Kendrick says if Kyrie really felt passionate about all of this, he should have contacted the proper NBPA reps and developed a thoughtful plan instead.

"It makes zero sense," Perkins said. "And I totally disagree with Kyrie Irving."

For the NBA players' part, they have until June 24 to figure out if they're in or out on finishing the season in Florida later this summer.

Michael Jordan Rare Bulls Playoff Jersey For Sale Expected To Fetch $500K!!!

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One of the last Chicago Bulls jerseys Michael Jordan's ever rocked is about to hit the auction block ... and is expected to sell for half a MILLION dollars!!

The threads are from the '97-'98 Eastern Conference Finals -- MJ's last season with Chicago -- when his Bulls squad battled Reggie Miller's Indiana Pacers.

His Airness wore the jersey during game 3 AND 4 of the series ... May 23 and May 25, 1998. Jordan dropped 30 and 28 points ... but the Bulls took 2 L's -- tying the series at 2 games apiece.

Chicago ended up winning the series in a nail-biting 7 games ... regarded as one of the toughest playoff series throughout the Bulls' 6-championship run.

The super-rare jersey is about to hit the auction block at Goldin Auctions ... and GA believes it will sell for around $500k!

"We expect this to set the all-time record for most valuable Jordan Jersey ever sold,” Ken Goldin tells TMZ Sports.

After the 7-game war, the Bulls went on to beat Karl Malone and John Stockton's Utah Jazz team ... culminating with MJ's dagger J in Bryon Russell's face (yeah, push-off, we know).

The rest is history ... the Bulls 3-peated for a 2nd time and Michael retired from basketball.

22 years later, you can own a piece of that history ... IF you're rich enough.

Kobe Bryant HBO Orders Billboard Removal ... Covered Mamba Mural

A mural of Kobe Bryant is shining on CA unobscured once again ... TMZ Sports has learned HBO ordered the immediate removal of a billboard covering Mamba art in L.A. on Tuesday.

Our sources tell us shortly after an HBO ad was placed over a piece of artwork dedicated to the Lakers legend this week ... officials at the company called to have it taken down.

We're told HBO was NOT aware the billboard would be placed over the Kobe art ... and once it saw it was concealed, the network realized the look had to go ASAP.

Fortunately, we're told the signage was ripped away in a swift manner ... and the Kobe artwork was NOT damaged in any way.

It's good news for Los Angelenos ... who have taken every precaution necessary to preserve public Kobe tributes since the 41-year-old tragically died in a helicopter crash in January.

Remember, even amid chaos, rioting and looting during protests earlier this month ... not a single Mamba mural was touched.

However, we're told this specific piece -- which is located near the famous Grove shopping center in West Hollywood -- could be obstructed by ads from time to time in the future.

Our sources say the vendor who owns the mural has plans to hang billboards over it eventually -- so long as the Kobe art goes undamaged and can be seen by all after the campaigns end.

Report: NBA DJ's, Video Games, VIP Treatment ... In Orlando Bubble

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The NBA is looking to hook players UP when the season picks up in Orlando next month ... with the Disney World "bubble" reportedly featuring DJ sets, ping-pong, movies, barbers, billiards and the whole VIP treatment.

The details on the living arrangements are trickling out courtesy of Shams Charania ... and it sounds like the Association is pulling out all the stops to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for its players.

The athletes will have their own lounge to be able to chill, watch TV or play NBA 2K20 and other games ... as well as a pool, mani-pedis and other options from the comfort of their hotels.

Other entertainment will include movies, lawn games, pool, and more ... as well as the option to attend other NBA games going on in Orlando.

Of course, not everyone is stoked on the idea -- players from Kyrie Irving to Carmelo Anthony have expressed safety concerns and other issues with starting the season back up.

As for the hotels, the teams will be split up between the Gran Destino, Grand Floridian and the Yacht Club based on seeding.

And, if any player isn't into the whole "bubble" idea, the league says they have until June 24 to back out without punishment.

Michael Jordan Places 2nd To Last In Fishing Tourney ... After Catching 442-lb. Marlin

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Unfortunately for Michael Jordan, size DOES matter when you're in a fishing tournament ... 'cause His Airness finished 2nd to last on the leaderboard after catching a big ass blue marlin last week.

As we previously reported .. MJ's Catch 23 boat caught a 442.3-pound fish in the 62nd Annual Big Rock Tournament in Morehead City, NC.

The haul was good enough for 5th place at the time ... but as it turns out, some of the other boats in the tourney were able to come through in the clutch during the remaining days of the competition ... and MJ's fish fell down the charts.

The winning boat -- the Pelagic Hunter II -- came in first after reeling in a 495.2-pound blue marlin.

There's a silver lining ... despite finishing 9th, MJ's boat beat last place on the leaderboard by 23.3 pounds.

Overall, there were 205 boats in the tournament ... with $3,352,475 going out to the biggest winners.

It's a big improvement for MJ ... who's left fishing tournaments empty-handed in the past.

You'll get 'em next time, Mike!!

LeBron James Super-Rare Card Hits Auction Block Expected To Sell For $1 Mil!!

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A LeBron James signed rookie card -- the holy grail of modern trading cards -- just hit the auction block ... and is expected to rake in OVER $1 MILLION!!

The LBJ 2003-2004 Upper Deck Exquisite card is 1 of only 23 produced (it's numbered 14 out of 23) ... and is arguably the most desirable and valuable card in the world.

The card is about to hit the block at Goldin Auctions ... and they tell us they expect the piece to sell for OVER a milli.

The condition of the card is rated at 9.5 a.k.a. "gem mint."

Basically, it's as good as new.

FYI -- a few months back, GA sold an ultra-rare Mike Trout signed rookie card for almost $923K ... a record sale price.

But, Trout may soon be knocked off the throne by King James.

“The basketball card market is on fire," Goldin tells us.

"We expect this will surpass the record recently sent by the $922,500 Mike Trout card to become the most valuable basketball and most valuable modern card of all time”

As if the card -- signed by Bron in blue ink -- wasn't already cool enough ... it also contains a piece of an actual patch from James' rookie season Cleveland Cavs jersey.

LeBron averaged 21 points per game, 6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds a game in '03-'04 ... and won the Rookie of the Year.

The world's most expensive piece of 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch cardboard hits the block June 22nd.

Happy bidding!!

Lloyd Pierce Hawks Coach Marches In Atlanta 'We Have A Systemic Problem'

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Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce took to the streets to fight for justice on Monday ... telling TMZ Sports it's time to confront racism and police brutality head-on.

Hundreds of people -- including the NBA coach -- gathered in ATL for the NAACP's "March on Georgia" after Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed at the hands of 2 police officers on Friday.

Pierce spoke with us about what the city needs to do moving forward ... and he says it starts at the top.

"The issue is not in Atlanta, I think the issue is in our country and not addressing racism and addressing the system of racism that's continued to go on for over 400 years."

"I'm more encouraged more by what we're seeing here today, but I understand that everybody's fighting in different cities all over the world -- not just in our country -- to address that black lives matter and racism exists in our country."

Pierce also addressed the decision to fire one of the cops and place the other on administrative leave ... saying the fight is bigger than singular incidents.

"I think we have a systemic problem. To just point fingers and go back and forth, who did what, that's not why we're fighting. We're not fighting for whats happening right now, we're fighting for something that's been happening for over 450 years."

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Pierce isn't the only outspoken member of the Hawks org. -- superstar Trae Young has been leading peaceful protests in Oklahoma following George Floyd's death last month.

NBA's Danny Green Proposes To GF Waited Until I Could Afford Perfect Ring!!!

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L.A. Lakers star Danny Green may have TWO rings in the near future ... 'cause the sharpshooter just got engaged to his longtime GF!!!

The 32-year-old NBAer revealed he popped the question to Blair Bashen on Monday ... getting on one knee at Surfer's Point Beach in Ventura.

FYI -- DG and Blair have been dating for 5 years ... and Green finally decided to make things official on their anniversary.

So ... what took so long?? Get this ...

"Sorry it took so long babe! just wanted to be able to get you the ring you deserved and couldn’t afford it until now 😂 "

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Worth noting ... Green has reportedly made more than $67 MILLION during his career so far -- and is currently in the middle of a 2-year $30 mil contract with the Lakers.

So, either he's just teasing, or Blair just got one MASSIVE rock!!!

Green continued ... "love you with all my heart and Im so lucky to have had you by my side these past 5 years ... many more years to come! Here’s to forever!"

Congrats ... now seriously, show us the ring, Blair!

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