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Shaq LSU Scandal Won't Distract Tigers ... From Beating Duke

3/23/2019 12:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Think Zion and Duke will coast all the way to the title game without a hitch??? Here's Shaq to make you second-guess your bracket picks ... 'cause he says LSU CAN beat the Blue Devils -- despite the Will Wade scandal.

The Tigers head coach was suspended indefinitely before the Big Dance ... after Yahoo Sports recently reported that wiretapped conversations revealed Wade discussed making a "strong-ass" offer to a recruit.

Shaq clearly ain't sweating the investigation possibly making an impact on LSU's run at a title ... simply saying, "Not a distraction."

The Big Aristotle is probably right ... 'cause the Tigers looked pretty good against Yale on Thursday ... and all they have to do is win 1 more game to match up with the Devils (assuming Duke handles their opponents, of course). 

But, with guys like Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish -- 3 projected lottery picks in the NBA Draft in June -- LSU's going to have their hands full ... scandal or no scandal.

Shaq Joins Papa John's Board Of Directors ... After Ex-CEO's N-Word Scandal

3/22/2019 7:14 AM PDT
Breaking News

Papa John's is hoping Shaquille O'Neal can do the same thing he did for the Lakers ... return them to prominence ... by adding the Big Man on as a member of their Board Of Directors.

Shaq announced the move moments ago on his Instagram with a statement talking about his future with the company, and his enthusiasm for their pies.

"I am so excited to be joining the Papa John’s family as a member of the Board of Directors, a soon-to-be investor in nine Papa John’s franchises in Atlanta and an ambassador for the brand."

This is HUGE news for Papa John's ... the company has been embroiled in controversy ever since founder John Schnatter stepped down after he admitted to using the n-word during a conference call with executives last May.

Since then, the company has been hit with boycotts by some members of the Black community, leading to declining sales 5 quarters in a row according to CNN business.

Shaq is a beloved figure in the community, and you have to believe PJ's is hoping adding him will get them back on the good side of those who think the company is racist.

"I know that behind every large company, there are thousands of people that put their heart and soul into the business. Papa John’s is no different, and it struck a chord with me that the company is putting in the work to do better within its walls and in the communities it serves across the country."

BTW -- this deal also comes with 9 franchises for Shaq in the Atlanta area ... and that means free pizza ... pace yourself, big guy.

NBA's DeMarre Carroll NYC's Pumped for the Nets ... Finally!!!

3/21/2019 2:42 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

While the Knicks are busy booting fans from MSG ... the Nets are on the brink of making the playoffs ... and DeMarre Carroll says the city's totally buzzin' for them!!!

Of course ... New York's always been Knicks' territory. Even when the Nets came over to Brooklyn in 2012, the vast majority of folks held on to their beloved Knickerbockers and didn't care too much for the team from Jersey.

But, as it turns out ... the Nets are currently 7th in the East thanks to breakout seasons from players like D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Earlier this week, BK had an insane 25-point, 4th-quarter comeback against the Kings ... behind Russell's 44 points.

And, the Knicks ... well, their 14-58 record is the worst in the NBA.

So, when we saw the NBAer out in Santa Monica on Thursday ... he said there's a lot of support for the squad as they head into the postseason.

"I think everybody's excited about what's going on, so it's a big time for the city," Carroll says.

We also asked Carroll how the league's gonna react to Zion Williamson ... and he says he ain't givin' the young bull ANY advice before he goes to the league but knows someone who might (cough, LeBron).

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan Harvard Basketball Rules!!!

3/21/2019 6:15 AM PDT
Breaking News

Who likes watching mediocre college basketball?? Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan!!!!

Judge Kagan was front and center at McDonough Arena at Georgetown University on Wednesday to watch her alma mater Harvard take on the Hoyas in the NIT basketball tournament. 

Kagan's Crimson were the underdogs going into the game with a #6 seed -- facing a #3 seed in Georgetown, which also happens to feature college basketball star Mac McClung

Oh, and the head coach at Georgetown is NBA legend Patrick Ewing. G.U. was a 6.5 point favorite going into the game. 

So, why would Kagan choose a game where her team was facing almost certain destruction? 

Because Harvard WON -- shocking the world to overcome the Hoyas in a 71-68 victory!! Maybe it was Kagan's Crimson blazer that inspired the team! 

Harvard now moves on to face North Carolina State in the next round of the NIT tournament on Sunday in Raleigh. 

The problem for Harvard now ... NC State is really good and JUST missed out on making the NCAA tournament, which people actually care about. 

Good luck!!

Kwame Brown Rips 1-&-Done Rule You Can Shoot A Gun But Not Play In NBA!?

3/21/2019 12:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kwame Brown is callin' BS on the NBA's one-and-done rule ... telling TMZ Sports, "To tell a young man he can go shoot a gun but he can't go earn a living, that, to me, doesn't make any sense."

Of course, the infamous NBA rule is back making headlines this year after Zion Williamson made it emphatically clear in just a few weeks at Duke he was ready for the pros.

But, the league still has its draft rule in place -- saying players need to spend a year in college before they can play for one of its 30 teams -- and thus, Zion remains a Blue Devil.

Enter 37-year-old Brown -- who went straight from high school to being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft when he was selected by the Washington Wizards. 

Brown thinks the 1-and-done rule is just ridiculous -- telling us there's simply no place for it in today's society.

"Free enterprise," Kwame says ... "Go and get that money."

As for Brown ... we had to ask if he regrets not going to college straight outta high school given his NBA career didn't flourish the way he expected it to -- and his answer was a big, fat HELL NO!!!

"Factor out the numbers, I know economics," Kwame tells us ... "I own four companies!"

Brown ain't lyin' ... dude did earn more than $50 MILLION in his NBA career!!!

Kobe Bryant On Lakers Playoff Chances 'Maybe Next Year'

3/19/2019 9:49 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Kobe Bryant is keeping it real when it comes to the Lakers -- telling TMZ Sports when it comes to the playoffs ... "maybe next year."

At least, that's what it appears he said when we shouted a question at him from across the street. 

JOURNALISM! 

The NBA legend was out in NYC when our photog spotted him and asked about the state of Lakers Nation. 

Kobe gave us the ol' thumbs up -- but when we pressed about LeBron taking the team to the playoffs, he shrugged and appeared to say, "Well, maybe next year."

Hey, it's probably true ... right? 

The Lakers are in 11th place in the Western Conference and thiiiis close to being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. 

Plus, LeBron's injured and there's talk the team will shut him down in the hopes of a better run next season. 

So, is this the most shocking clip we've ever posted? No. 

Is this the reality check some Lakers fans need to hear? Yes. 

Ice Cube Defends LeBron ... Walt Frazier's Comments Are 'Bullsh*t'

3/18/2019 11:41 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

You come at the king, you best not miss ... and Ice Cube thinks Walt Frazier missed HARD when saying LeBron James doesn't care about the Lakers ... telling TMZ Sports, "that's bullsh*t."

Frazier went OFF on LBJ during Sunday's game between the Knickerbockers and L.A. ... saying, "when you’re the face of the NBA, you should be more a part of your team."

"No matter what is going on. In the public, you gotta be a part of the team. Maybe in the locker room you’re not, but you have to exude that type of togetherness in public, folks," Frazier added. 

"And right now, we see he doesn’t really care."

Cube says the Hall of Famer is WRONG -- "LeBron cares, that's bullsh*t."

The rap legend doesn't deny there might be some issues in the locker room ... he actually thinks everyone is trade bait at this point.

As for whether Cube's more confident in his Lakers or his Raiders at this time ... you'll wanna hear his take.

Byron Scott Luke Walton Is Doomed with Lakers ... 'Coach Is Always 1st to Go'

3/18/2019 10:04 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Byron Scott is a fan of Luke Walton and thinks he's doing the best he can with the Lakers -- but tells TMZ Sports it's obvious his job as head coach in L.A. is just about over. 

"Listen, I think Luke did a great job under the circumstances," Scott tells us ... "He's in a situation that's extremely, extremely tough."

"At the end of the day, I can tell you this from past experience, coach is always first to go. That's just how it is."

Of course, Scott is referring to his own run as head coach of the Lakers which lasted from 2014 to 2016 ... when an injury-stricken Kobe Bryant was wrapping up his NBA career

As for Luke, Scott says he'd love to see the guy get another shot leading Los Angeles ... but he understands the optics considering the Lakers have a terrible record and didn't come close to matching expectations. 

"I don't think [firing Walton] is something that is warranted but if you look at their team, you look at their record, you look at the season ... everybody thought they would make the playoffs."

As for Scott's own coaching career, Byron says it's highly unlikely he'll return to the sidelines ... but never say never. 

Ex-Knicks Player Chris Copeland I Love James Dolan!!!

3/18/2019 7:48 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Not everyone wants James Dolan to sell the Knicks ... and if ya don't believe us, here's ex-NBA player Chris Copeland telling TMZ Sports he LOVES his old boss!!

... but Copeland's friend?? Not so much.

We shot the ex-NBAer outside Madeo over the weekend and asked straight-up what the Knicks need to do to get back to relevance.

Copeland's friend had a few suggestions -- which would've gotten him BANNED from MSG if he had said it at a game -- but the hooper shuts down any of that talk and praised the team owner.

"I love Dolan, Dolan's my guy," Copeland tells us. I love Dolan, love the Knicks."

It's been the trend to tell Dolan off at Knicks games recently -- but it comes with a price. 

As we previously reported, fans have been getting 86'd from Knicks games or any other events being held at MSG for heckling him ... as we've seen with at least 2 different occasions in recent years.

Copeland knows what it's like to be on the winning side ... NY actually made the playoffs when he was on the roster ... and it sounds like he believes Dolan can get the team back to the postseason.

NBA's Shane Battier Goes Gaga For Karaoke ... Performs 'Shallow'

3/15/2019 7:56 AM PDT
Breaking News

Shane Battier is off the deeeeeeeep end ... and it's beautiful as hell.

The 2-time NBA champ hit the stage to put on his best rendition of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's "Shallow" at his charity karaoke event on Thursday ... and this guy pulled out all the stops.

Look ... singing the ballad in front of ANYONE requires some guts. But, to do it in front of a huge crowd while wearing a dress AND a wig puts the whole thing over the top.

Miami Heat TV host Jason Jackson played the role of Cooper ... and he even put on a wig as well!!

It was all part of the 7th Annual Battioke Event in Miami ... which raises money for college scholarships.

Battier clearly stole the show ... but there were other great performances from Kelly Olynyk, who sang some classic One Direction ... and Pierre Garcon, who pulled off "Let Me Love You" by Mario.

The championship belt ended up going to Heat GM Andy Elisburg, who sang "Soul Man" by the Blues Brothers.

We're told the event raised more than $150k!!! 

Props to all involved ... and if there's ever "A Star is Born 2," we know who to call.

Zion Williamson In Nike I Trust (Again) ... Rocks Kyrie 4s in Return

3/15/2019 6:27 AM PDT
Breaking News

Zion Williamson made his much-anticipated return to the court on Thursday ... and when people weren't busy watching his rim-shaking dunks, their eyes were glued to his shoes.

The Duke superstar hit the court against Syracuse for the ACC Tournament after missing the past month with a knee sprain ... when his Paul George sneaker infamously blew up on him.

Z-Dub ditched the Thunder star's kicks for Kyrie 4s in the return -- he has to stick with the Swoosh with Duke being a Nike school -- and the replacements seemed to work just fine.

Well ... great, actually. Zion went on to shoot 13 for 13 from the field, with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 5 steals. He looked like a freak of nature who won't let a pair of sneakers get in his way.

Of course, there were a bunch of people like Scottie Pippen saying Zion should just sit out the rest of the season ... and uh, we're glad he isn't listening.

Although ... Zion didn't go *completely* without any scary moments ... 'Cuse star Frank Howard appeared to try to trip him in the first half of the game.

Duke ended up winning the game, 84-72 ... and Zion escaped unscathed. 

Utah Jazz Owner 'We Are Not a Racist Community'

3/15/2019 6:11 AM PDT
Breaking News

The owner of the Utah Jazz addressed the Russell Westbrook incident head-on Thursday night -- saying Utah is "not a racist community" ... and warning fans to treat opposing players with respect.

Of course, the Westbrook incident made international headlines after he told a fan, "I'll f*ck you up." Westbrook claimed the fan and his wife had made offensive comments. The fan denied it. The Jazz ultimately banned the fan for life. 

Enter Jazz owner Gail Miller ... who grabbed the mic before the Jazz took on the Timberwolves at Vivint Smart Home Arena and warned fans she'll boot ANYONE who acts like a jerk. 

"I am extremely disappointed that one of our 'fans' conducted himself in such a way as to offend not only a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family, our organization, the community, our players, and you as the best fans in the NBA,” Miller said.

"This should never happen. We are not a racist community."

She added, "We have a code of conduct in this arena. It will be strictly enforced."

As for Westbrook, the OKC Thunder star has been fined $25k for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”

Dennis Rodman NBA Players Are Wussies 'Stop Wearing Tampons'

3/14/2019 7:07 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Dennis Rodman has a REAL problem with the lack of toughness in the NBA -- telling TMZ Sports, "All these guys should quit wearing tampons!"

Rodman was heading into Jennifer Cohen's "Habits and Hustle Podcast" on Wednesday wearing a "Make Basketball Tough Again" hat ... so, naturally, we had to ask about it. 

Dennis didn't get specific about his gripe with the league -- guessing it has to do with the increase in foul calls. In fact, that's exactly what Rudy Gay was griping about to The Athletic recently. 

There's more ... Rodman also talked about his buddy, Donald Trump, and why he thinks the recent summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un was a failure. 

Of course, Rodman and Jong-un are friends -- remember when Rodman visited him in Pyongyang back in 2013? 

"I think [Trump] went in there to try to ask for all this bullsh*t and stuff like that and he has to understand you just can't go in and ask a guy like that to surrender his country and his freedom and his people," Rodman said. 

"Slowly, man. Ease into it, brother. You'll get something."

Rodman says he plans on going back to North Korea "soon" -- and looks forward to hanging with Kim and his family. 

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