Clippers center Ivica Zubac's Los Angeles area home was burglarized Friday night ... and the 7-foot tall big man interrupted the burglary, TMZ Sports has learned.
Unfortunately, the 2 assailants were able to escape ... according to our law enforcement sources.
The 24-year-old, 7-foot tall Croatian hoops player -- who's averaging nearly 10 points and 8 boards a game with LAC -- left his home around 8 PM Friday night ... before returning around midnight.
When he arrived back at the crib, Zubac -- the 32nd overall pick of the Lakers in 2016 -- noticed a ladder was placed against his home, leading to a second-floor balcony.
Ivica then witnessed two men bolt from the area, hopping a fence and booking it from the property.
The big man called the police ... and the cops responded and cleared the home, ensuring there were no more bad guys inside.
We're told Zubac's place -- which was locked and had a working alarm system -- was ransacked and at least one piece of expensive jewelry, a Rolex watch worth over $20K was gone.
Police are currently investigating.
Alex Rodriguez is quickly learning what NOT to do as an NBA owner -- the Yankees legend's Minnesota Timberwolves were just punished over a team gathering he hosted during the offseason.
On Monday, the T-Wolves were fined $250,000 for holding a team event in Miami in September, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
According to a report from Page Six, A-Rod got together with his business partner Marc Lore and invited the team down for a weeklong gathering ... featuring practices and a little fun in the sun.
The report goes on to say that every player attended A-Rod's event ... and the team bonding went so well, Alex and Marc were thinking about making the Miami trip an annual thing.
The only problem -- the whole bash was NOT allowed ... 'cause under current NBA rules, teams are not allowed to organize or pay for offseason practice ... and they're also not allowed to conduct workout sessions outside of their market.
Sounds like A-Rod and co. will have to come up with some other team-building idea ... but we're sure the guy will figure it out soon enough.
Rodriguez became a part-owner of the T-Wolves back in July ... and the team is estimated to be valued at $1.4 billion. So, losing a quarter milli isn't too brutal of a blow, but it's safe to say Miami trip 2K22 ain't happening.
The daughter of ex-NBA player Corey Benjamin was involved in another on-court fight just weeks before her viral sucker punch ... new video, obtained by TMZ Sports, shows.
The violent altercation went down in mid-September in Del Amo, Calif. -- just two months before she sucker punched a girl during a youth basketball game near Anaheim last weekend.
In the footage, you can see the teenager was jockeying with another girl to try to gain position inside the key ... when she suddenly snapped.
Video shows Benjamin's daughter threw several punches at the girl -- before sprinting toward another girl on the court and throwing even more haymakers.
We're told officials later hit her with an indefinite ban from the venue over the altercation.
You'll recall, Benjamin's daughter was hit with a similar punishment following her actions during a game this past Saturday.
In that incident, the girl laid out her opponent after she felt she was fouled on a jump shot. The mother of the teenager who was punched tells us she has filed a criminal report against Benjamin's daughter over it all.
Benjamin has issued an apology over his daughter's actions, telling NBC L.A. this week, "As a father, I'm shocked and disappointed at my daughter's behavior as this is not a reflection of the values and standards that my family holds. Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires."
"My daughter made a mistake," Benjamin continued. "One that she will need to make right. I am committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct."
Ya can't be too cautious about COVID-19, even on your birthday ... and Anthony Davis had to remind Russell Westbrook that right before he almost blew all over his cake on Friday ... and the moment is hilarious!!
Brodie celebrated turning the big 3-3 at Lakers practice ... getting surprised with a delicious-looking cake in front of all his teammates right inside the gym.
Russ' teammates decided to have a little fun at his expense on his cake day ... 'cause as he went to go straight into blowing out his candles, he was abruptly stopped by AD.
"Whoa, whoa," Davis said. "COVID, COVID!!"
Russ was so damn excited to get right into the cake, he forgot all about the guys having to be extra safe ... so AD gets MVP for the day.
At first, Russ looked confused as to why everyone was tellin' him to pump the brakes ... but once he realized they were just giving him a hard time, he was able to crack a smile and laugh.
Worth noting -- the whole Lakers roster is fully vaxxed ... but hey, breakthrough cases happen!!
In the end, Westbrook used a much safer "backhand blowout" technique to extinguish his candles ... and the Lakers celebrated the California native.
Happy birthday, Russ!!!
The Warriors forward recently told The Athletic that in his mind, Kyrie has cemented his spot as one of the top 20 NBA players EVER -- and on top of that, he's cemented his spot on the Mount Rushmore of point guards in NBA history.
"Magic (Johnson), Steph (Curry), Isiah Thomas. They're the only guys that I will allow you to say are better than Kyrie," Iggy said, adding he's open to the idea of adding Chris Paul to the mix ... but makes it clear his pick is Uncle Drew.
The list of greatest point guards is always a topic of discussion ... but Iggy is leaving out some legends that will certainly have some folks up in arms over the comments.
We're sure Jason Kidd, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson and many more would like to have a word with Iggy ... 'cause they didn't make the cut.
It's possible Dre is speaking from recency bias or personal experience ... 'cause he knows firsthand just how skilled Kyrie is ... his ridiculous crossovers and scoring ability make him one of the most exciting players in the NBA.
After all, he got to witness up close and personal in the 2016 NBA Finals.
And, we all know how that turned out -- *cough* 3-1 lead *cough* --- but regardless, brace for an influx of NBA Twitter hitting your feed over this one, Iggy.
Corey Benjamin -- former Chicago Bulls guard -- is apologizing for his teenage daughter after she blindsided an opponent, clobbering her with a punch to the head during a basketball game last weekend.
"This is not how I raised my daughter," Benjamin said.
TMZ Sports published video earlier this week showing Benjamin's teenage daughter flattening her 15-year-old opponent with a haymaker for seemingly no reason during a basketball game in southern California on Sunday.
Alice Ham, the mother of the girl who was punched, tells us her daughter sustained a concussion as a result of the punch.
The former 1st round draft pick in 1998 -- who played 4 seasons in the NBA, averaging 5.5 points for his career -- spoke to NBC LA ... and it's clear the former hooper knows his daughter really screwed up.
"To the young lady who was punched by my daughter during a youth basketball game, I sincerely apologize to you and I am praying for your complete healing both physically and emotionally," Benjamin said.
"To her family, I deeply apologize and regret that this happened to your daughter as she did not deserve this to happen to her. Finally, I apologize to all of those who have been impacted and hurt by the actions of my daughter as well as those of her mother. I am here for your family and wish only the best for you."
It's interesting ... Corey also said sorry for the mom of his daughter ... who is seemingly heard on video directing her kid to hit the 15-year-old just seconds before the attack.
Corey continued ... "As a father, I'm shocked and disappointed at my daughter's behavior as this is not a reflection of the values and standards that my family holds. Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires."
"My daughter made a mistake. One that she will need to make right. I am committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct."
But, the apology from Corey might not be enough ... 'cause Ham has lawyered up, hiring attorney Kevin Hahn.
Hahn tells us all options are on the table ... including a lawsuit.
Did you know Shaquille O'Neal could have been John Coffey in "The Green Mile?!?"
It's true ... so says the NBA legend, who revealed on the "The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast" this week that he was initially offered the star role in the 1999 film but turned it down.
And, Shaq says he was initially tabbed to play the part before Clarke Duncan, but says he "turned it down."
"I didn't want to play the down-South African American guy during slavery," Shaq explained. "I didn't want to play that role."
Shaq, who was still with the Lakers in '99, added he has no regrets over it all -- especially considering Duncan shined in the part.
"The guy who played it did a wonderful job," Shaq says, "He's no longer with us, he passed away. Michael Clarke Duncan did an excellent job."
The Big Diesel's not wrong, Clarke Duncan went on to win three awards for best-supporting actor.
"I think I made the right decision because he did way better than I could have done," Shaq said. "But, I got offered that role."
Kevin Garnett is debunking one of the most infamous NBA stories of all time, claiming he NEVER told Carmelo Anthony his then-wife, La La, "tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios" ... and he has no clue where the rumor came from.
Quick refresher -- the alleged exchange went down during a game in January 2013 between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks ... when KG was playing for the former and Melo was on the latter.
Both guys were going at it in the 4th quarter of the matchup ... and their beef even made its way to the Madison Square Garden tunnel after the game, when Melo confronted KG in a heated standoff.
Now, 8 years later, Garnett is opening up on all the drama in an interview with GQ ... and he made it clear he would never stoop that low when it comes to trash talk.
"I’ve never said anything about anyone’s family. I’ve never said anything to Melo about La La," KG said.
Oh, and as far as Honey Nut Cheerios go -- "I’m a Frosted Flakes man. I’m not a Honey Nut Cheerios guy."
Garnett added, "I never knew where that came from. Let me clear that up."
La La -- who filed for divorce from Melo this June -- spoke about the fight in her 2014 book called "The Love Playbook" ... and also claimed the Cheerios comment was never made.
"Kevin Garnett in fact had never said that I tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios," she said at the time. "I tried to figure out how this big lie was turned into a media firestorm. I still can’t answer that one."
"Melo and Kevin are cool today. And now it’s nothing but a faint memory."
Now that KG's confirmed the comment never happened, we can certainly put this one to rest.
Hours after Kyle Rittenhouse broke down on the stand and cried in front of a packed courtroom ... LeBron James trolled the 18-year-old, accusing the Kenosha shooter of putting on a show.
"What tears?????" the L.A. Lakers superstar said in a social media post. "I didn't see one. Man knock it off!"
The NBA player then took the mocking one step further ... adding three laughing emojis and writing, "That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court."
Rittenhouse was on the stand trying to convince a courtroom that he acted in self-defense when he shot at people during an Aug. 2020 protest in Wisconsin.
The teenager -- who's been hit with multiple criminal charges, including two counts of homicide -- said, "I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself."
Yet at one point during his testimony, he got so emotional trying to explain his actions ... he began sobbing and couldn't get words to leave his mouth.
Rittenhouse broke down in front of the microphone -- forcing a short break in the proceedings -- but James clearly believed it was all a ruse to try to draw sympathy.
The rest of Rittenhouse's hearing, meanwhile, also featured some drama ... with the judge in the courtroom admonishing prosecutors over the way they questioned Rittenhouse.
The officials had asked Rittenhouse about an incident that the judge had previously ruled would not be permitted as evidence ... and after Rittenhouse's attorneys objected, judge Bruce Schroeder exploded.
"You know very well that an attorney can't go into these types of areas when the judge has already ruled without asking outside the presence of the jury to do so," the judge said, accusing the prosecutor of "getting brazen" with him.
"So, don't give me that."
Rittenhouse's attorneys asked for a mistrial over it all.
Court proceedings are slated to resume Thursday.
Kyle Kuzma stabbed Cavs fans in the heart with a game-winning shot on Wednesday ... and then twisted the knife with his postgame comments, saying, "Without LeBron (James), Cleveland wouldn't be s***."
Kuz's trey with just over 10 seconds left in the 4th quarter helped secure the 97-94 win over the Wine & Gold ... and after the game, he blamed Cavs fans for motivating him to knock down the shot in the clutch.
"I was just ready, I was ready for it," Kuz told reporters. "Plus, there was some hecklers during the game, talking to me. It was their fault, really. It was their fault."
Kuz -- who won a championship with the Lakers in 2020 -- points out a few fans in particular who had a sign that read, "LeBron won Kuzma his ring" ... and he didn't hold back when addressing them directly.
"I said, 'Without LeBron, Cleveland wouldn't be s***' ... so, they chose violence and I just kept going. So, thank you guys, I appreciate it."
In fact, Kuz rubbed it in fans' faces after the W ... taking a Sharpie and autographing the sign that inspired him to nail the dagger at the end of the game.
Of course, it's no secret the Cleveland Cavaliers organization owes everything to LeBron for ending the city's 52-year drought ... but considering Kuz averaged 8.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.5 assists in the Finals for the Lakers, let's not pretend he doesn't also owe a ton to the King.
Aside from the jab, the Cavs seem to be showing promise for the first time in a post-Bron era -- they're currently 7-5 with guys like Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and even Ricky Rubio balling out so far this season.
Enjoy the win now, Kuz ... but ya might regret it down the road if these two teams face off in the playoffs. 🤷♂️
The Houston Rockets have temporarily axed its "Travis Scott Night" promotion slated for Wednesday night ... with the team planning to honor the victims of the Astroworld tragedy in its place.
The Rockets were set to hand out 3,000 limited edition Scott-themed shirts prior to their matchup against the Detroit Pistons ... but will instead have a moment of silence for the 8 people who died and the others affected at the music festival in Houston.
Of course, Scott is one of the Rockets' most famous fans ... and has been spotted courtside at countless games over the years.
But given the tragic events that took place Friday night, postponing the promotion was a no-brainer.
Rockets head coach Stephen Silas shared his condolences to the families of the victims of the festival ... adding his 14 and 17-year-old daughters actually wanted to attend with their friends, but were unable to due to a volleyball tournament in Dallas.
As for Scott, he previously shared his grief over the deaths ... saying he was "devastated" by the news and could never imagine something like that happening.
TMZ Sports has confirmed ... Vanessa submitted docs on Nov. 5 to secure trademarks that indicate her aspirations to enter the wine business ... with "Mamba Vino," "Mamba Vino 2024," "Mamba Vino 8," and "Mamba Vino 24" among the phrases listed, as first reported by Josh Gerben.
Kobe Bryant, LLC -- which is run by Vanessa -- is listed as the applicant on the filing ... with Bryant signing off on all the paperwork.
This move is the latest in a series of business moves by Vanessa ... as we previously reported, last month she filed a trademark for digital collectible items, websites, training camps, broadcasting platforms, podcasts, TV shows, movies, documentaries and music ... as well as sports cards, food/drink containers and t-shirts.
All four new trademark names include one of Kobe's many nicknames, "vino" ... 'cause many people thought his game got better with age.
The names also pay tribute to the numbers Kobe wore -- 8 and 24 -- of course, both numbers are retired by the Lakers and hang in the rafters at the Staples Center.
Vanessa would be joining a growing industry ... a long list of former athletes such as Drew Bledsoe, Yao Ming, Jeff Gordon, Wayne Gretzky, and Terrell Owens all occupy space in the wine biz ... but like all things Kobe, we're certain this stuff could fly off the shelves.
5:47 AM PT -- 11/10 Less than 24 hours after Jokic's cheap shot ... the NBA handed down a suspension, barring the superstar 1 game.
The league also announced it hit Morris and Butler with fines -- $50k for Morris, $30k for Butler -- for their roles in the altercation.
Morris, meanwhile, is expected to recover from injuries he suffered from the shove ... though he's likely to miss at least one game.
NBA star Nikola Jokic could be facing a lengthy suspension ... after he injured Markieff Morris on Monday night with a violent cheap shot.
The play all went down at the end of the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' game against the Heat ... when Jokic felt he was fouled by Morris while dribbling the ball up the court in a 111-94 game.
In video of the incident, you can see right after Morris threw his body into Jokic's -- the 6-foot-11, 284-pound center charged at Morris' back and hurled an elbow that caused the Heat player to crash to the ground.
Immediately, players and coaches got into a scrum -- and at one point, Miami star Jimmy Butler appeared to challenge somebody on the Nuggets to a fight at center court.
Eventually, everybody was separated and Jokic was ejected ... but Morris appeared to be really hurt on the play.
In fact, a stretcher was brought out for the 32-year-old, but fortunately, he was able to walk off the court.
The Heat announced Morris was dealing with a neck injury as a result of the foul -- and his status going forward is unclear.
For his part, Jokic -- whose Nuggets went on to win 113-96 -- called the play "stupid" and said he shouldn't have reacted the way he did.
NBA fine, and possibly suspension, coming for Jokic in 3 ... 2 ...
Originally Published -- 11/9 6:05 AM PT
Dennis Rodman made a surprise visit to his daughter's soccer game over the weekend -- and she says it was a very emotional and shocking moment ... revealing the two barely speak to each other.
Trinity Rodman -- who went #2 overall in the National Women Soccer League draft in January -- explained on social media on Monday that the former NBA star popped up out of nowhere at her Washington Spirits game on Sunday.
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
In her post, she said it's the first time she's seen him in a very long time ... and called the reunion at the game against the North Carolina Courage "an extremely emotional one."
"Yes Dennis Rodman showed up to an Nwsl game, but also my dad, after YEARS surprised me at a big game in my career," the 19-year-old said. "I was shocked, overwhelmed, happy, sad, everything."
Trinity -- who shared a photo of the two at the game in her post -- says Rodman hasn't been in her life much ... and explained sometimes they go months without seeing each other.
"My dad doesn’t play a big role in my life at all and most people don’t know that, we don’t see eye to eye on many things," Trinity said.
"Being in spotlights has been hard for us, him and me. We don’t have the best relationship, but at the end of the day he’s human I’m human."
But, Trinity did say she hopes their emotional moment on the pitch will be the start of a better daddy-daughter relationship.
"He's my dad, and I’m his little girl that will never change," Trinity wrote. "I will improve and look forward everyday as I hope he does."
Dennis had Trinity and his son, Dennis Jr., with Michelle Moyer, who he met in 1999. They married in 2003, but Michelle filed for divorce in 2004. It was finalized in 2012.
Trinity, meanwhile, has been one of the Spirit's best players this season ... logging six goals and 5 assists in 22 matches played.
Delonte West is fighting back in his resisting arrest case -- the former NBA player has pled not guilty to three charges, TMZ Sports has learned.
Court documents show West's attorney entered the not guilty pleas on Monday ... less than 3 weeks after Delonte was accused of drunkenly arguing and scuffling with officers in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Police say on Oct. 19, West was yelling and banging on a local station's doors while holding two open containers of booze.
The cops say when they went to detain West -- he was non-compliant at times ... and they eventually arrested him.
Body cam footage of the incident appears to show West hurling anti-gay slurs at the officers ... and claiming he was Jesus Christ and the President of the United States.
West was also heard on camera saying he was a better basketball player than LeBron James.
West was ultimately hit with three misdemeanors over the incident -- obstruction/resisting without violence, open container, and disorderly intoxication.
He's due back in court for a hearing in the case next month.
1:04 PM PT -- The Bucks just met with Biden ... and the team presented #46 with his very own jersey.
Giannis spoke about his own journey to becoming a champion ... giving a special shoutout to all his teammates' families for their support over the years.
Biden also had some positive words about the Bucks ... and of course, had some jokes.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are in the nation's capital to visit with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday ... and naturally, the MVP's got his championship ring with him!!
The 2021 champs will become the first NBA team to visit 1600 Penn since Barack Obama hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 ... with the Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers passing on the opportunity.
Giannis and Co. look ready for a day of fun with Biden ... with the team smiling and enjoying themselves before making their way to the White House in a matter of minutes.
Giannis even showed off his big ring to our camera guy ... and you can tell he's still loving the new bling.
Biden hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this year ... and it was Tom Brady who ran away with the silly jokes that time around.
The Bucks' ceremony is set to go down at 11:50 AM PT ... and we'll be streaming the whole thing.
Originally Published -- 10:54 AM PT