Caroline Wozniacki, David Lee Pool Time In Portofino ... Show Off Shredded Bods In Italy

Shredded?? Check. Hot?? Yup. Vacation in paradise?? Better believe it!!

Star couple Caroline Wozniacki and David Lee have taken their summer getaway around the globe to Italy ... soaking up the sun at a pool in Portofino.

Of course, the former tennis superstar and ex-NBA hooper have been doing a bit of sight-seeing after Woz announced her retirement in January ... recently hitting up Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in France.

And, just like in France, the couple ditched their clothes for their swimsuits ... proving there's no such thing as a retirement bod for either of them.

Woz decided to go with a one-piece patterned suit this time around ... although we know she's a big fan of bikinis -- even rocking one for a hike last week.

But, CW ain't the only one who can show off -- gotta give Lee his credit as well!!

We'll be sure to keep you posted on their next stop on the Hot Couple World Tour.

Can't wait!!

WNBA's Renee Montgomery Sen. Loeffler is Wrong Fans Won't Abandon League Over Black Lives Matter

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EVERYONE'S INCLUDED
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Atlanta Dream star Renee Montgomery says she straight-up disagrees with her boss -- claiming Sen. Kelly Loeffler is wrong for thinking fans will turn on the league overeats support of Black Lives Matter.

FYI, Senator Loeffler (R-GA) is a co-owner of the Dream -- and made it clear she's AGAINST the league's social justice initiatives that support BLM claiming it will rub some WNBA fans the wrong way.

"I think a lot of people feel that they may not have a place," Loeffler told ESPN ... "They may feel excluded from this sport and other sports that make them feel like American values aren't at the core of what we're doing here."

Loeffler was also critical of the Black Lives Matter organization -- saying it's much different from the BLM movement, which she strongly condemns.

"The Black Lives Matter political organization advocates things like defunding and abolishing the police, abolishing our military, emptying our prisons, destroying the nuclear family. It promotes violence and antisemitism. To me, this is not what our league stands for."

Enter Montgomery ... who played 2 seasons with the Dream -- and responded to Loeffler's comments on the "TMZ Sports" TV show.

Montgomery says it's great that Loeffler is open to having a deeper 1-on-1 conversation about the issue ... but for now, they remain on opposite sides of the fence.

Long story short, Montgomery says the WNBA is embracing the BLM movement -- NOT the group -- and she's frustrated that certain people like Loeffler are trying to conflate them.

Montgomery -- an 11-year WNBA vet and 2-time WNBA champion -- also says she doesn't believe fans will leave in droves because players are fighting for social justice.

"If its gonna bother a fan that much that a player wants to promote equality -- that a player wants to promote the movement -- then maybe [those fans] shouldn’t watch it."

Montgomery adds, "[Loeffler is] saying they're gonna lose fans but I think a lot of people will be welcoming to the idea of inclusion."

Renee also wonders why Loeffler is digging in her heels so strongly to continue to be a part of a league with such different social values -.

"I don’t understand why you would want to be a part of something that has such different beliefs than you."

Montgomery recently opted out of her 3rd year with the Dream to focus on social justice issues -- but hasn't retired and could rejoin the league next year.

When asked if the rift with Loeffler would dissuade her from rejoining the Atlanta Dream -- Montgomery said it would not ... explaining how the organization as a whole has been incredibly supportive.

"I have no problem with the Dream organization at all."

Catch Renee -- our new co-host on "TMZ Sports" -- weeknights on FS1.

Yo Gotti, Skylar Diggins-Smith Call out A.G. William Barr ... Demand Justice in Near-Lynching Case

WNBA superstar Skylar Diggins-Smith wants justice in her home state ... for the black man who's near-lynching was captured on video, so she's fired off a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

TMZ has obtained a copy of the letter Skylar and fellow Roc Nation client Yo Gotti sent to the Department of Justice regarding the case of Vauhxx Booker ... who was horrifyingly attacked over the Fourth of July weekend.

THE ALTERCATION
Friends of Vauhxx / Vimeo / Vauhxx Rush Booker / Facebook

Video of the incident showed several white men pinning Vauhxx up against a tree and calling for someone to bring a noose for him. Passersby eventually intervened and convinced the men to release Vauhxx, and although state charges have been filed against the suspects ... Skylar and Gotti want the feds to get involved.

In the letter they write, "A violent racist racist attack such as this, additionally, is a federal crime." Additionally, they say the attempted lynching of Vauhxx, a civil rights activist, "demands your attention and your full efforts to guarantee that justice is done, by prosecuting the people who attacked Vauhxx Booker for their violent hate crime."

THE TRUTH NEEDS TO BE HEARD
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Skylar was born in South Bend, IN, and became a Notre Dame star hoops star. Both she and Gotti have enlisted Team Roc to throw some legal muscle -- attorney Joe Tacopina -- behind the fight to get justice for Vauhxx.

Last week, prosecutors in Monroe County, Indiana charged 2 men with criminal confinement, intimidation, and battery of Vauhxx -- but as Skylar and Gotti point out, those counts make no mention of a hate crime ... which is why they want the feds to bring charges as well.

Breonna Taylor's Mom Praises NBA, WNBA Stars for Keeping Spotlight On Daughter's Case

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Breonna Taylor's mother tells TMZ Sports ... she's VERY aware of the NBA and WNBA stars who are constantly keeping the spotlight on her daughter's killing -- and she's hoping it finally leads to justice.

"Everyone raising their voices for justice are what keeps this family going each day," Tamika Palmer tells us.

"What is being done by the NBA and the WNBA is amazing. Now, it’s time for the attorney general to listen, to charge everyone responsible for Bree’s murder and to get overdue justice."

"Bree should be with us. The world was a better place with her."

Tamika is specifically referring to pro ballers like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Tobias Harris, Dwight Howard, Kyrie Irving and more who have spoken out publicly to put pressure on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to charge the police officers who shot and killed Breonna in March while executing a no-knock warrant.

FOCUS ON WHAT'S IMPORTANT

In the WNBA, the entire league is wearing warm-up shirts with Breonna's name as a tribute.

And, get this ... Tamika was also involved in a zoom call over the weekend with more than 30 NBA players, according to family attorney Lonita Baker ... who tells us they all spoke about how to continue to use their platform to get results.

We're told Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony were just 2 of the players on the call -- and at one point, CP3 discussed how players were considering not playing this season to keep the focus on social justice issues.

Baker tells us Breonna's family is moved by all of the support and action -- but also realizes the true fight for justice is much bigger than just Breonna.

WNBA 'Addressing' Bubble Housing Issues ... After Concerning Videos

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Gross laundry rooms, worms on the floor and maybe even bed bugs.

Those are some of the issues WNBA players are allegedly dealing with at their bubble environment lodging in Florida -- but now the league says its handling the problems.

Players began arriving to Bradenton, Florida this week to resume their shortened 22-game season at the famous IMG Academy ... but almost immediately some disturbing videos of the housing situations began popping up online.

ESPN producer Kayla Johnson posted a video of a busted-looking laundry room with a mousetrap on the wall. WNBA player A'ja Wilson said on Twitter the video is authentic.

Another video showed a gross-lookin' worm on the floor of one of the rooms.

ESPN also says players have complained about a broken bed, faulty plumbing and sub-par food options. There were also complaints about bed bugs but ESPN says exterminators were called in and found no signs of the pests.

Now, the WNBA says it's taking action -- "We have been working closely with IMG and the Players Association to address issues players have expressed about one of the housing locations on campus."

"IMG is accommodating all player requests regarding these issues, including moving players to other accommodations."

The good news ... it seems most players are having a positive experience in the bubble -- with nice housing situations and quality food.

In fact, several players have posted on social media about how nice their situations are ... including the food.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler Rips WNBA Over Social Justice Initiative ... League Fires Back

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The WNBA is clapping back at a team co-owner who is blasting the league for supporting Black Lives Matter ... in a war that's exploding fast.

The woman at the center of the controversy is Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) -- a co-owner of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream franchise.

Sen. Loeffler penned a letter to WNBA commish Cathy Engelbert strongly opposing the league's plans to display the words "Black Lives Matter" when the season resumes later this month.

She's also against the WNBA's plan to honor victims of police violence ... including Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland and Vanessa Guillen.

"I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country," Sen. Loeffler said in her letter.

"I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion."

"The truth is, we need less -- not more politics in sports. In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote," she added.

WNBA commish Cathy Engelbert responded in a statement Tuesday -- clearly trying to distance the league from Loeffler.

"The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice," Englebert said.

"Sen. Kelly Loeffler has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream since October 2019 and is no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team."

Translation -- pound sand.

Loeffler is a big-time Trump supporter -- so ya gotta wonder if POTUS will defend her in the form of a strongly-worded tweet.

WNBA's Maya Moore Meets Man She Helped Free From Prison ... Emotional Video

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FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM

WNBA superstar Maya Moore -- who paused her hoops career to help free a wrongfully convicted man serving a 50-year prison sentence -- was able to watch him walk free on Wednesday ... and the video is powerful.

31-year-old Moore -- one of the greatest WNBA players EVER -- stepped away from the league in 2019 and 2020 to focus on social justice issues ... starting with freeing Jonathan Irons.

FYI, 40-year-old Irons was only 16 years old when he was convicted of burglary and assault in Missouri in 1998, despite no real evidence proving his guilt.

Moore has longed believed Irons is innocent -- and has spent the past 2 years providing tons of support in the hopes of bringing him home.

And, on Wednesday -- after his conviction was overturned and prosecutors said there would not be a retrial -- her dream became a reality.

Moore -- alongside Irons' family members -- watched Jonathan walk free from the Jefferson City Correctional Center in an emotional moment captured on video and posted to Instagram.

"I feel like I can live life now," said Irons -- who had served 22 years of his 50-year sentence. "I'm free, I'm blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God's help and influence."

Moore spoke about Irons' release on "Good Morning America" on Thursday ... saying, "In that moment, I really felt like I could rest."

"I'd been standing, and we'd been standing, for so long .... and it was an unplanned moment where I just felt relief. It was kind of a worshipful moment, just dropping to my knees and just being so thankful that we made it."

Moore -- the #1 overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft -- is a 4-time WNBA champ and was named MVP in 2014.

Some consider her to the greatest WNBA player of all time ... but it's clear, this is her proudest accomplishment.

NBA To Paint 'Black Lives Matter' ... On Courts at Disney World

Breaking News

The NBA will paint the words, "Black Lives Matter" on all 3 of the courts it will use in the Disney World bubble when the season restarts, according to ESPN.

The words will appear inside both sidelines -- and ESPN says both the NBA and the NBA Players Association are down with the plan.

As we previously reported, several players have publicly expressed concern with joining the NBA bubble instead of focusing their full time and energy on continuing the Black Lives Matter movement.

In fact, Stephen Jackson -- who was close friends with George Floyd -- has called for NBA players to skip the season to keep the momentum going.

But, in the last week, people from both the NBA and NBAPA have been brainstorming ways to use the NBA's platform to continue to spotlight social justice issues ... and the BLM message on the court seems to be addressing those concerns,

Over in the WNBA, the league is also considering using Black Lives Matter on the court when it kicks off at the IMG Academy in Florida, according to ESPN.

There are also rumblings WNBA players could use warm-up shirts with the words, "Say Her Name" written on them as a way to spotlight victims of police brutality including Breonna Taylor.

Nothing is set in stone at this point -- but it sounds like it's almost a done deal.

WNBA's Renee Montgomery Sitting Out 2020 Season ... Fighting for Social Justice

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KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOIN'
TMZSports.com

11:38 AM PT -- TMZ Sports spoke with Montgomery ... and she elaborated on her decision to sit out ... calling it a "leap of faith."

"I'm not breaking up with basketball, it's just pausing things because, right now, we can all see something's happening."

"Something's happening in America, something's happening all over. So, I wanna be a part of that something."

Montgomery added ... "It's just not about basketball right now. The people that are gonna go play that's fine, but for me, my heart is somewhere else. So, that's where I'm gonna go."

WNBA star Renee Montgomery will NOT be taking the court when the 2020 season returns in July ... saying she's going to use her time to fight for social justice instead.

Montgomery -- the 4th overall pick out of UConn in 2009 -- made the announcement on Twitter early Thursday ... deciding her services are needed elsewhere.

"After much thought, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2020 WNBA season," the Atlanta Dream guard said. "There’s work to be done off the court in so many areas in our community."

"Social justice reform isn’t going to happen overnight but I do feel that now is the time and Moments equal Momentum. Lets keep it going!"

Montgomery joins superstar Maya Moore, who temporarily left the game to help fight for justice for Jonathan Irons ... a 39-year-old man she believes is wrongfully convicted of burglary and assaulting a homeowner with a gun when he was 16.

Dream coach Nicki Collen released a statement supporting Montgomery's decision, saying, "While I am saddened Renee will not be in a Dream uniform this summer, I am incredibly proud of her passion for her foundation, her outreach in the community and her chance to impact the Black Lives Matter movement with her platform as a WNBA athlete."

Originally Published -- 9:51 AM PT

Sheryl Swoopes WNBA Players Very Concerned About Pay ... If Season Canceled

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THIS IS HARD ON US
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The average WNBA player reportedly makes around $75,000 per season.

The average NBA player reportedly makes around $7.7 MILLION per season.

Which is why Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes tells TMZ Sports a BUNCH of WNBA hoopers are afraid they could be left financially "struggling" if they don't get paid for the 2020 season.

The 2020 Season was supposed to kick off on May 15 -- but it's been pushed back without a new target date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The tough part is the unknown," Swoopes tells us ... "Not knowing when the season will start, if the season will start. Without getting too personal, a lot of [the players] have no idea if they will even be paid."

We asked Swoopes if she felt the super-profitable NBA (as a league) has a duty to help WNBA players during this unprecedented time.

"Should they do it? I would say yes."

Don't get it twisted, Swoopes definitely isn't upset with the NBA -- in fact, she praises the league for everything it's doing to help combat the pandemic.

"You look at everything that the NBA, they have done, that they're currently doing, donating money to other causes and trying to help find a way to fight this pandemic and help find a cure ... they are helping in other areas."

But, the fact of the matter is she's concerned for the WNBA.

"There are some WNBA players, not a lot, but there are some WNBA players because they've been playing for so long and played overseas for years, who've made some great money ... But for the most part, there are players in the WNBA who probably without a doubt will be struggling if the season does not happen this summer."

Swoopes notes that there's "great respect amongst NBA players, WNBA players, former players on both sides" ... and adds, "I think it's a situation where if NBA players knew that there were WNBA players struggling or in need for help or there was something they could do, I definitely think that there are some players that would step up to the table and say 'Alright, what can we do? What do you guys need and we'll help you out.'"

Kobe Bryant Names 3 WNBA Stars Who Are NBA-Ready .... 'Honestly'

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Kobe Bryant "honestly" believes there's a handful of WNBA superstars who could seriously compete with men in an NBA game ... and he's naming names.

"I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now honestly," Mamba said while talking to CNN about his 13-year-old daughter Gianna's basketball ambitions.

"There's a lot of players with a lot of skill that could do it ... Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne."

He continued, "There's a lot of great players out there so they could certainly keep up with them."

Of course, the 3 women Kobe named are some of the best players in WNBA history, with resumes like ...

-- Taurasi -- 4-time WNBA champ, 2-time Finals MVP, regular-season MVP, 9-time All-Star and 5-time scoring champ.

-- Moore -- 4-time WNBA champ, Finals MVP, regular-season MVP, 6-time All-Star

-- Delle Donne -- 2-time regular season MVP, 1-time champ, 6-time All-Star, 4-time All-NBA First team.

Clearly, they're all super talented ... but could they seriously compete on the same court as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, etc???

Only one way to find out!!!!

Isiah Thomas D-Wade Is Best Chicago Hoops Star ... EVER!!!

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CHICAGO'S FINEST
TMZSports.com

Derrick Rose. Dwyane Wade. Candace Parker. Anthony Davis. Which baller from Chicago is the BEST to come outta the Windy City???

Well, there's no one better to ask than Chicago native and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas ... who's settling the debate with TMZ Sports once and for all.

Of course, there has been a lot of talk about the rich hoops history in Chi-Town after AD declared it "the Mecca of basketball."

We spoke with Zeke about the long list of basketball greats to come out of his hometown ... and asked who ranks at the top of the list -- AND IT AIN'T ISIAH THOMAS!!!

"No one has won more and been as successful as Dwyane Wade. I mean, we all honor him, we love him. Right now, he's the winner."

Thomas says he doesn't mind handing the title over to D-Wade .. saying, "All of us from Chicago, we're all winners. We're all champions. But, Dwyane Wade has a very special place in all our hearts."

It's hard to argue against it -- Wade is a 3-time NBA champ, 13-time All-Star, Finals MVP and is the Miami Heat all-time leading scorer.

Washington Mystics Champagne Slip 'N Slide Party ... After Winning WNBA Title

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SLIP-SLIDIN' CELEBRATION

"3 ... 2 ... 1 ... SLIP 'N SLIDE!!!!!"

That's how the Washington Mystics spent their first few minutes as WNBA champions ... 'cause after they beat the Connecticut Sun, 89-78 Thursday, they went back to their locker room for some champagne dives!!!

The vid is hilarious ... the team sprayed down their clubhouse with a ton of booze -- and with a protective layer of plastic laid on the ground, they decided to get down on the floor.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Natasha Cloud counted backward from 3 ... dove across the carpet -- and good times were had by all.

Of course, the celebration didn't end there ... the team continued boozing throughout the night -- and were even spotted capping off the evening at local D.C. nightclub!!!

As for prior to the party ... the Mystics kicked ass on the hardwood -- and they had some special courtside visitors for the historic Game 5 -- Wizards stars John Wall and Bradley Beal!!

L.A. Sparks' General Manager Penny Toler Fired Over N-Word Post-Game Rant

Breaking News

The L.A. Sparks have fired General Manager Penny Toler after she admitted using the n-word in a post-game rant following a playoff loss.

"Toler was relieved of her duties and will no longer be with the organization, effective immediately," the Sparks said in a statement.

"A national search will begin immediately to identify the next general manager of the Sparks. Managing Partner and Governor Eric Holoman will assume the duties in the interim."

As we previously reported, Toler entered the locker room following a Sept. 19th loss to the Connecticut Sun and unleashed in an emotional tirade.

Toler later spoke to ESPN and acknowledged using the word -- but insists it was not directed as a slur toward one of her players.

"It's unfortunate I used that word," Toler said ... "I shouldn't. Nobody should. ... But you know, like I said, I'm not here to defend word by word by word what I said. I know some of the words that I'm being accused of are embellished."

"Did I give a speech that I hoped would get our team going? Yes."

Despite the controversy, the Sparks are praising Toler for what she accomplished during her 20 seasons with the franchise.

"Penny is a foundational figure in the growth of the WNBA and helped lead our franchise to perennial playoff success and multiple titles."

"We wish her nothing but the best moving forward."

Under her leadership, the Sparks made the playoffs 18 times and won WNBA titles in 2001, 2002 and 2016. Toler was a founding member of the WNBA and played for the Sparks from 1997-1999, scoring the first basket in WNBA history.

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