2022 NBA Draft Paolo Banchero Picked #1 Overall ... Orlando's New Star!!!

The speculation and suspense have finally come to an end ... the Orlando Magic have selected Duke superstar Paolo Banchero with the #1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Commissioner Adam Silver just announced the choice ... revealing the team took Paolo over Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren and Auburn star Jabari Smith.

The 19-year-old former Blue Devil -- who scored 17.2 points per game as a freshman on Duke's men's basketball team this past season -- will be suiting up for an Orlando team that desperately needs him to succeed.

The Magic finished with a 22-60 record last season and didn't have a single All-Star on its roster.

Banchero could very well change that, because, in addition to his prolific scoring, he added 7.8 rebounds per contest and shot 47.8% percent from the field in 2021-22.

Rejoice, Orlando. Rejoice!

Chet Holmgren Not Sweating NBA Draft ... 'I Want To Land In Best Fit'

FINDING A GOOD FIT
TMZSports.com

Former Gonzaga basketball superstar Chet Holmgren clearly ain't stressin' about next month's NBA draft ... telling TMZ Sports his goal is to find the best "fit" for him, not necessarily to be the top pick.

We got the 7-footer out shopping in L.A. this week ... and asked if he was hoping to be taken by the Orlando Magic at No. 1 overall on June 23.

While it's obvious the guy wouldn't mind it (who would?!?) -- he stressed to us being in the best spot for his growth as a hooper is what's most important to him ... not what slot he'll be picked in.

"Man," the 19-year-old said. "I want to land in the best fit for my career, and the best possible situation."

Of course, many experts believe that very well could be in Orlando -- with most mock drafts having him slated to be taken by the Magic just minutes after Adam Silver kicks off the event.

As for if Holmgren thinks it will happen ... he wasn't ready to reveal any inside secrets if he had them -- saying, "We'll see!"

Shaq Raises $2 Million For Charity ... With NFT Sale

The Big Diesel is officially The Big Generous now ... 'cause Shaquille O'Neal just raised $2 MILLION for charity -- all by selling some unique NFTs of himself.

The NBA legend, along with NFT platform Notables, dropped the collection of the digital images earlier this month ... and TMZ Sports has learned they all sold out on Monday.

In total, they brought in a small fortune -- which Shaq and his camp say is all going toward The Shaquille O'Neal Foundation, which helps underserved youth in America.

The NFTs were pretty awesome -- each one featured unique depictions of The Big Aristotle ... showing the former Lakers superstar in different costumes with funny facial expressions.

Some had him in Lakers-colored gear, while others had him wearing a Magic-themed uniform. Some even showed him with donuts, pizza and Christmas lights.

Shaq's team says they're all "1-of-1 unique digital collectibles" -- and the hope is they continue to bring in money for charity going forward.

#Awesome

Cole Anthony Reveals Biggest NBA Draft Regret ... Dropping Stack On Big Chain!!

BE SMART!!
TMZSports.com

Cole Anthony -- last year's 15th overall pick -- is confessing his biggest rookie year screw up ... laying down wayyy too much cash on a chain prior to draft night.

TMZ Sports ran into the Orlando Magic star only hours before the 2021 NBA Draft ... and we asked the 2nd year hooper out of UNC how he treated himself after being picked in last year's 1st round.

"Before the draft, I bought myself a chain which I immediately regretted," the 21-year-old said. "It was a lot of money at the time ... at the time, it was a lot. I ain't going to lie to you."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

FYI, Anthony signed a near-$16 million, 4-year deal with Orlando in the November draft (it was delayed over COVID-19).

Tonight, 60 more young fellas are about to strike it rich ... and Cole has some sound financial advice for the soon-to-be millionaires.

"You don't owe nobody nothing. Don't come in there trying to take care of a thousand people, man. Just take care of yourself. Take care of your mom and dad, if necessary," Anthony says.

"And, just focus on basketball."

Seems former NBA star Jermaine O'Neal would agree ... 'cause when we got the ex-Indiana Pacer out in NYC earlier this week, his biggest piece of advice to the future rookies was also to be smart with their cash!

WELCOME TO THE LEAGUE
TMZSports.com

"I think the most important thing is saving, right?" the 42-year-old said. "You know, put aside some money. You work hard, you should be able to choose what you want to buy. But don’t spend it all in one place."

Cade Cunningham ... take notes!

Terrence Ross Alleged Lambo Jacker Charged ... 16-Year-Old Kid

The guy who allegedly broke into a Lamborghini dealership and jacked NBA guard Terrence Ross' expensive whip has been arrested and charged ... and turns out, cops say the suspect is a 16-year-old kid.

As we previously reported, Ross' Lambo Urus -- a fancy SUV that starts at $220k -- was stolen from the Fields Motorcars of Florida dealership last month ... and the car ended up wrecked in Maitland, about 10 miles outside Orlando.

TMZ Sports has learned ... a male teen was charged with Burglary of a Structure and 3rd Degree Grand Theft after a month-long investigation ... with officials saying they identified the suspect via key witnesses and security footage.

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Cops say the suspect crashed a gray Dodge Dart into the dealership around 1 AM to get Ross' key fob, hopped in his whip and drove off. Officials say the Dart was later reported stolen and found at a nearby business.

According to the police, Ross' Lambo was spotted cruising through Orange County around 3 AM ... and just a few hours later, cops received the call that Ross' SUV had crashed into a building in Maitland.

Remember, Ross was devastated to hear the news ... posting a video explaining what he had heard about the incident.

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I'M SICK

But, the good news?? Ross is rich (he's reportedly made more than $67 million in his career) ... but the hooper can still rest easy knowing cops got the person they believe is responsible for swiping the car.

The suspect is now in juvenile custody in Miami.

NBA's Devin Cannady Suffers Gruesome Ankle Injury ... Stretchered Off Court

UPDATE

2:01 PM PT -- The Magic have released a positive update on Cannady ... saying he had surgery this morning to clean out his ankle.

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The team is also saying he suffered an open right ankle dislocation with a severe lateral ankle sprain ... but his bones and cartilage remained intact.

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Cannady will remain out for the season ... but is now expected to make a full recovery.

Devastating moment for Orlando Magic guard Devin Cannady ... who was stretchered off the court after suffering an open fracture to his ankle early in Sunday night's game.

But, the good news?? The 24-year-old baller spoke with his teammates and is in "good spirits" after the gruesome incident.

It all went down with 3 minutes left in the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers ... when Cannady hustled down the court to defend a fastbreak layup, but fell awkwardly on his right leg.

Cannady immediately screamed in pain as blood gushed from his ankle ... and teammate Mo Bamba rushed to his side and ripped the jersey off his own back to cover the injured area.

Cannady was taken off the court on a stretcher ... but was able to give a thumbs up to the fans, players and coaches while the entire arena gave him a standing ovation.

The Magic later revealed the seriousness of the injury -- an open fracture to his ankle, which will require surgery.

Despite the heartbreaking incident, Cannady appeared to be as positive as he could be Sunday night ... FaceTiming his teammates from the hospital.

Cannady also tweeted an update Monday morning ... saying, "In God’s Hands, He’s Never Failed Me!"

Bamba spoke after the game about his decision to use his own jersey to help during the incident ... saying, "I just saw my teammate was down, and I just did what he would probably do for me."

He added ... "I just thought quick and I didn't want him to see it. I just took my shirt off my back and gave it to him."

Cannady appeared in 8 games for the Magic this season ... averaging 4 points. His 2021 campaign is over, but here's hoping for a speedy recovery.

Get well soon, Devin!!

Originally Published -- 6:57 AM PT

NBA's Markelle Fultz Gets Amazing 'Black Panther' Tattoo 1-Foot Tall Image On Thigh

NBA star Markelle Fultz is taking Wakanda Forever literally ... he just got a foot-long image of the Black Panther tattooed on his thigh -- and it's AMAZING!!

TMZ Sports has learned back in the summer, Fultz hit up "Ink Master" star Roly T-Rex about getting some ink done.

And, with Chadwick Boseman's death and the Black Lives Matter movement at its peak ... the two got to thinking a "Black Panther" piece would be perfect.

According to Roly T-Rex, the artwork -- featuring a stern Black Panther surrounded by lightning -- embodied BLM's message and paid tribute to the late Boseman ... so Fultz was all about it.

The Orlando Magic star was able to sit for the needle sesh this week ... and Roly tells us everything went great.

The piece -- which is about 12-13 inches tall -- took roughly five hours to complete ... and Roly says Fultz was "ecstatic" at its finished result.

"He loved it, man," said Roly, who also does tattoo work for Fultz's Magic teammate, Aaron Gordon. "He loves the tat."

Roly says the plan is to add a little something more to the artwork later ... explaining Fultz wants a symbol to go along with it on his knee.

Milwaukee Bucks Boycott Playoff Game over Blake Shooting ... Other NBA Teams Follow Suit

UPDATE

4:41 PM PT -- The Bucks players have released a statement outside the team locker room ... saying, "Our focus today cannot be on basketball."

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"We're calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officer be held accountable."

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"For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform."

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4:14 PM PT -- The WNBA is following the NBA's lead ... officially canceling Wednesday night's games.

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3:47 PM PT -- Bucks ownership released a statement on the boycott ... saying they will stand by their players' decision to sit out.

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"We fully support our players and the decision they made. Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them."

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"The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change."

UPDATE

2:08 PM PT -- The NBA says all 3 playoff games scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed, after multiple teams refused to take the court.

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Bucks vs. Magic, Rockets vs. OKC Thunder and Lakers vs. Blazers are officially off ... for now.

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The league says all of the games will be rescheduled to a later date.

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More NBA boycotts might be on the way ... the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder are NOT planning on taking the court for their Game 5 playoff matchup.

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1:47 PM PT -- That game is scheduled to take place at 5:30 CT -- but according to The Athletic, it ain't happening.

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There's also a buzz the Lakers could boycott their Wednesday night playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

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LeBron James just tweeted, "F*CK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT."

The Milwaukee Bucks are boycotting their playoff game against the Orlando Magic Wednesday ... electing to not take the court in protest after the Jacob Blake shooting.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates did not participate in pre-game warm-ups before their scheduled Game 5 matchup in the NBA bubble ... staying put in the locker room.

Of course, Blake was shot in the back 7 times by a police officer during an incident in Kenosha on Sunday ... about 45 minutes from Milwaukee.

8/23/20
SHOCKING AND BRUTAL
Raysean White via TMX.news

The news was just made official minutes ago -- with the team announcing they will not play on Wednesday at all.

Bucks player George Hill issued a short statement saying, "We’re tired of the killings and the injustice."

Bucks exec Alex Lasry has also weighed in ...

"Some things are bigger than basketball," Lasry said.

"The stand taken today by the players and org. shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen."

"I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change."

Obviously, this will have huge ramifications -- the team is reportedly facing millions of dollars in fines for missing the game. But, they clearly feel the social justice statement is worth it.

ESPN's Bobby Marks says the fine could be as high as $5 million if the NBA chooses to enforce it.

Both the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics have also discussed boycotting their playoff game on Thursday.

Unclear if the Bucks' move will embolden them to stay off the court.

Of course, Bucks player Sterling Brown was victim of police brutality back in 2018 when he was tased by cops while outside of a Walgreens in Milwaukee while on a first date.

1/26/18
THE DRAMATIC FOOTAGE

Cops had accused him of parking in a handicap space ... and things escalated from there.

Video showed officers taking Brown to the ground and tasing him -- despite the fact he never resisted or seemed to pose a threat.

Brown says he was offered a $400,000 settlement in exchange for his silence on the matter -- but he refused, saying, "I can't be quiet."

The police chief later issued an apology to Brown.

Originally Published -- 1:24 PM PT

NBA's Jonathan Isaac Stands For National Anthem Here's My Explanation

LAST MAN STANDING
Courtesy of NBA
UPDATE

2:53 PM PT -- Jonathan Isaac just addressed the media, where he was asked to explain why he didn't kneel or wear a BLM shirt ... and he says a lot of it has to do with his religious beliefs.

UPDATE

Isaac said he believes Black lives do matter ... but doesn't believe the kneeling demonstration or BLM shirt "go hand in hand with supporting Black lives."

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DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
UPDATE

Isaac went on to explain how the teachings of Jesus Christ influenced his life and decisions ... and insists after much thought, the kneeling demonstration wasn't right for him.

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"I think when you look around, racism isn't the only thing that plagues our society, that plagues our nation, that plagues our world, and I feel like coming together on that message that we want to get past not only racism but everything that plagues as a society. The answer to it is the gospel."

UPDATE

We think what Isaac is trying to say is his priority is on following the teachings of Jesus Christ, above all else ... including the Black Lives Matter movement.

Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand during the national anthem following the season restart ... deciding against both kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.

The league's coaches, refs and players -- from LeBron James to Zion Williamson -- have been using the anthem demonstrations to raise awareness as games pick back up in Orlando ... a gesture that is being supported by NBA commish Adam Silver.

Isaac became the first player to choose to stand as the anthem was played before the Magic's match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday ... while the rest of the team's players and staffers took a knee.

It's worth noting -- Silver says everyone will have the option to kneel during the anthem without consequence ... despite a league rule requiring players to stand.

The same goes for anyone who wishes to stand -- no one is saying the players HAVE to kneel, either.

So far, Jonathan hasn't commented on his decision to stand publicly -- because the game is currently being played. But, when he does, we'll update here.

Charles Barkley spoke about the demonstrations on Thursday during TNT's "Inside The NBA," saying, "The national anthem means different things to different people."

"I’m glad these guys are unified. If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified."

The Magic released a statement in support of the demonstration, saying, "The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color."

"We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity."

Originally published -- 1:08 PM PT

Markelle Fultz Summer Training At Kobe Bryant's Gym ... Met With Mamba

Former #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz is desperately trying to salvage his NBA career ... and he turned to Kobe Bryant for help, spending the summer at Mamba's training facility.

Fultz -- who was drafted before NBA stars like Jayson Tatum, De'Aaron Fox and Donovan Mitchell -- has seen his career get off to a super shaky start.

Over 2 seasons, Fultz -- who's now on the Orlando Magic -- has only played in 33 games (he started 15) ... averaging only 7.7 points per game, 3.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds.

But, Markelle -- who's still a ridiculously young 21-year-old with supreme talent -- is trying to turn the bust ship around ... and he's looking to Kobe for help.

Fultz spent a good chunk of the summer at MAMBA Sports Academy in Southern California ... working daily with the academy's trainers.

We're told Markelle even had a sit-down with Kobe ... where Bryant schooled Fultz on the "Mamba Mentality" -- which in KB's words means to "constantly try to be the best version of yourself."

Will Kobe's greatness rub off on Fultz? Stay tuned. NBA season kicks off next month.

Orlando Magic Volunteering at Blood Center ... To Help Shooting Victims

The Orlando Magic jumped into action to help out the victims in the nightclub shooting -- volunteering at a blood center and dispatching the team spiritual leader to help grieving families.

TMZ Sports spoke with a rep for the NBA team who told us several members of the organization helped out at the OneBlood Center on Sunday.

In addition, the team is "providing blood drive locations to our employees so they can participate during work hours."

"In addition, our Magic spiritual leader went to the Family Assistance Center to help serve as a grief counselor."

The team says, "We are continuing to assess needs and will be ready to work with our fellow teams in the Orlando sports community to help our community heal, while remembering the victims and their families and friends."

Kate Upton I'd Be Stupid to Turn Down Marriage Proposal ... From a Dragon

Kate Upton's sending a message to her baseball star boyfriend -- get on your game or your gonna lose me ... to a guy who dresses up as a dragon for a living!

We got Kate BOUNCING (if you know what we mean) through LAX ... on her way back from Orlando, FL -- where, If you missed it, she got a marriage proposal from the Orlando Magic mascot over the weekend.

Thing is ... Stuff the dragon kinda snaked Kate's bf, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander -- waiting until he walked away from their seats to pop the question..

Watch the vid (especially if you're Verlander) ... Kate says the proposal was a "huge honor" -- and definitely did NOT say she's turning down the dude who plays dress up.

Dwight Howard My Heart Is in L.A. But My Head Is in Orlando

Dwight Howard might be a Los Angeles Laker, but part of him is still a member of the Orlando Magic ... specifically, his head.

In town to play the New York Knicks last month, D12 hit up a hat store in Harlem and wouldn't you know it ... he picked up a hat of his former team.

According to our witness, Dwight didn't just pick up the hat ... HE BOUGHT IT!!!

For the non-sports fans out there ... Dwight was traded away by the Magic last year after he basically whined his way out of town. It was not a happy parting of the ways.

With Dwight set to be a free agent this summer, maybe a reunion isn't as far-fetched as one would think.

Gilbert Arenas Judge Clears Ex-Fiancee for "Basketball Wives LA"

Gilbert Arenas' ex-fiancee is free to talk smack and get in as many catfights as she wants on "Basketball Wives LA" -- thanks to a federal court decision today.

A judge ruled against the NBA star's request to block Laura Govan from appearing on the show and mentioning his name.

The judge said Gilbert's claim that details of his family life should not be aired on the reality show -- is undercut by the fact he has "tens of thousands of Twitter users who follow [him] as he tweets about a variety of mundane occurrences."

Arenas has 51,103 Twitter followers. He and Govan have 4 children together.

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