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Kings and NBA Launch Joint Investigation Into Luke Walton Accusations

4/25/2019 9:32 AM PDT
Breaking News

The Sacramento Kings have teamed up with NBA officials to launch a joint investigation into the Luke Walton sexual assault allegations. 

Both the Kings and the NBA have hired their own teams of investigators -- which are already working together to look into the accusations made by sports reporter Kelli Tennant

Tennant claims Walton -- now the head coach of the Kings -- sexually assaulted her in a hotel room back in 2014, when Walton was an asst. coach with the Golden State Warriors.  

The two women leading the Kings investigation are Sue Ann Van Dermyden and Jennifer Doughty -- who both have extensive experience conducting investigations. 

As for the NBA side, they've tapped NBA Senior VP Elizabeth Maringer -- who previously served 12 years as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The Kings and the NBA issued a statement saying they "take these allegations very seriously and will collaborate to conduct a complete and thorough investigation."

As we previously reported ... Walton adamantly DENIES assaulting Tennant and claims she's an "opportunist" looking for a quick buck. 

Tennant held a press conference earlier this week emotionally recounting her version of the incident -- saying she thought Walton was going to rape her that day. 

Walton has vowed to fight the case in court and says he will NOT settle for any amount of money. 

Bill Laimbeer LeBron's the G.O.A.T. Over Jordan 'Every Day of the Week'

4/24/2019 4:45 PM PDT
Breaking News

Bill Laimbeer wants to hand Michael Jordan one more "L" ... 'cause the NBA legend says LeBron James is the greatest of all time "every day of the week!!!"

Bill knows what it's like to beat MJ -- the "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons defeated the Chicago Bulls on their way to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990 ... and he had his fair share of tense moments with Jordan.

But, Laimbeer ain't saying this because he's still got a grudge against MJ ... telling Fox Sports Radio's "The Odd Couple" his reasoning behind his choice.

"[LeBron] came into the league involving his teammates from the start, at 18 years old," Laimbeer says.

"He understood how to play team basketball, both offensively and defensively, from day one. Jordan had to learn that."

"No one has single-handedly done what LeBron's done," he added ... noting LBJ has taken some awful teams to the NBA Finals (we're looking at you, 2007 Cavs).

As for how LBJ would fare in Laimbeer's era ... the dude is not backing down, saying straight-up, "If he was in our generation, he would've been by far the greatest that you've saw in your entire, whole world."

MJ ain't gonna like this.

LeBron James No Rift With Lakers!!! 'Not True At All!'

4/24/2019 2:42 PM PDT
Breaking News

LeBron James is firing back at a report he's beefing with the L.A. Lakers -- saying it's "NOT TRUE" -- and he can prove it. 

Bron was working out Wednesday morning when he saw an ESPN report by Dave McMenamin about how Lakers have a lot of work to do to "repair the relationship" with James. 

Of course, there's been a lot of drama in Lakerville ... the season was a disaster, Magic stepped down, Luke Walton's gone and nobody knows who's gonna fill the head coach position. 

But, is the relationship between LeBron and the Lakers really fractured? 

"THAT. IS. NOT. TRUE," LeBron said on Instagram ... "It's not true at all!" 

He added, "It's just not!" 

LeBron also pointed out that while he saw the report, he was working out at the Lakers facility -- "I'm actually at the Lakers facility right now ... HAHAHAHA!"

There you have it. LeBron James loves the Los Angeles Lakers.

Carry on with your Wednesday.

Luke Walton's Attorney Slams Accuser You Have No Evidence!

4/24/2019 12:19 PM PDT
Breaking News

Luke Walton's attorney was clearly watching Kelli Tennant spell out her case against the NBA coach on Tuesday -- and his takeaway is simple ... YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE!

"Yesterday's press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement," attorney Mark Baute tells TMZ Sports

"These claims are false and Luke’s innocence will be proven in court."

"[Tennant's] lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime."

Tennant and her attorneys held a press conference on Tuesday -- where she fought back tears as she walked reporters through her sexual assault claim against Walton. 

Tennant claims Walton pinned her down and forcibly kissed her in his hotel room during a 2014 encounter. She claims she repeatedly told Walton to stop and fought to escape. 

During the press conference, TMZ Sports asked Tennant and her attorneys if they had any hard evidence -- injury photos, video, etc. -- and they essentially said no. 

Clearly, Walton's team picked up on that -- and feel Tennant's case has no legs. 

Walton has previously denied the allegations and said the accuser is nothing more than an "opportunist."

When Tennant and her lawyers were asked why she never went to police, she claimed she was too scared to come forward. 

They also said their goal is not to put Walton behind bars -- but rather win a civil lawsuit against the NBA star. However, they did not mention a specific financial sum they're looking for. 

Luke Walton's Accuser 'I Thought He Was Going to Rape Me'

4/23/2019 5:03 PM PDT
Breaking News

4:57 PM PT -- We asked if there was any video or photo evidence to help prove Tennant's case, and her attorney essentially told us no.

4:53 PM PT -- When asked what they want to get out of the case, Tennant's attorney says they have no particular sum in mind. 

4:49 PM PT -- Tennant says she did not go to law enforcement because she feared it would jeopardize her career.

Tennant's attorney says they do not intend to file a police report because they do not want to put Walton in jail.

4:43 PM PT -- Tennant says she didn't come forward at first because, "I was scared." 

"I was scared for my job, my safety and what my job would be like."

She claims she's spent years trying to move past the incident and "bury it" -- but she couldn't. She says she finally mustered up the courage to tell her story. 

4:40 PM PT -- Kelli Tennant got emotional while telling her story ... recounting how she felt Walton was "going to rape her" during the hotel encounter. 

Tennant says she begged Walton like crazy to let her go but he ignored her pleas ... until finally giving up and letting her out of the hotel room. 

"This type of behavior cannot be condoned," Tennant said. 

4:33 PM PT -- Kelli says the alleged sexual assault took place in 2014, when she was 25-years-old. 

Her attorney says she was uncomfortable coming forward back then but she's comfortable now. 

Kelli says she met Luke Walton about 10 years ago through the volleyball community. 

The woman accusing Luke Walton of sexual assault will speak with the media at 4:30 PM PT ... and TMZ Sports will be live streaming the whole thing. 

Kelli Tennant and her attorney, Garo Mardirossian, will hold a press conference at his office in Los Angeles, they announced. They are both planning to speak. 

Mardirossian has just issued a pre-press conference statement saying, "By way of this lawsuit, Ms. Tennant is speaking out and saying #timesup to the culture of abusing women in the NBA."

We broke the story ... Tennant -- a longtime sports reporter -- claims Walton sexually assaulted her in a Santa Monica hotel room while he was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. 

Walton has lawyered up and adamantly denied the allegations -- with his attorney attacking the accuser as an "opportunist." 

There are TONS of unanswered questions ... what was the date of the attack? Is there any photo of video evidence? Witnesses? Etc. 

Originally Published -- 4:19 PM PT

Luke Walton Sued For Sexual Assault By Female Sports Reporter

4/22/2019 7:20 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

7:15 PM PT -- The Sacramento Kings tell TMZ Sports, "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time." Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton is being sued for sexually assaulting a female sports reporter who claims he forced himself on her in his hotel room ... this according to a new lawsuit. 

In legal docs, obtained by TMZ Sports, Kelli Tennant claims while Walton was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, he asked her to come and meet him at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica to drop off a book she had published.

FYI, Walton worked for the Warriors until April 2016, when he left to become the head coach of the Lakers.

In her suit, Tennant -- who worked as a reporter for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA -- says the 2 had a business relationship that went back several years and that's why she had asked him to write the foreword in her book.

Tennant claims when she arrived at Walton's hotel, he convinced her to come up to his room so they could "catch up." But when they got to his room, Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.

In the docs, Tennant claims Walton began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest. She claims she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.

Tennant claims she was "in shock and fear. She was afraid she was about to be raped," the suit states. 

Tennant claims Walton eventually relented and let her get up from the bed, but as she was walking toward the door to leave, he grabbed her from behind and again forced his body up against hers. 

Tennant claims when Walton finally stopped and released her -- he walked her out of the room as if nothing had happened. 

"He smiled, laughed again and made the disturbing statement, 'Good to see you,'" Tennant claims in her suit. 

Tennant claims she did not initially report Walton's conduct but was forced to continually interact with him because of her job. She says each time she saw him, Walton would make implied threats of additional physical threats through his conduct -- imposing himself on her with big hugs or a kiss, even though she thought she made it clear his advances were unwanted. 

In the suit, Tennant claims in May 2017 -- while Walton was the head coach of the Lakers --  there was an incident when Walton greeted her by uttering "vulgar, guttural sounds at her" and said, "mmmm ... you're killing me in that dress."

She says Walton also forced an aggressive hug on her and rubbed his body against hers.

It's unclear, based on the docs, what finally prompted Tennant to come forward with her allegations.

Luke recently left his position as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is now coaching the Sacramento Kings.

Our camera guys spotted Luke and his wife Bre leaving dinner at Avra in Beverly Hills over the weekend, but they weren't in the mood to talk. Unclear if he knew Tennant was planning to file her lawsuit at the time. 

We reached out to Walton's reps for comment ... so far, no word back.

Originally Published -- 5:32 PM PT 

NBA's Josh Hart On Arya's 'GoT' Sex Scene 'Get It How You Live, Shorty'

4/22/2019 11:52 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

*WARNING -- GAME OF THRONES SPOILER AHEAD!*

Arya Stark finally got her freak on in "Game of Thrones" Sunday night ... and while a lot of people were shocked to watch the scene unfold, Josh Hart says she deserves her PROPS!! 

"Get it how you live, shorty!!"

Remember, the whole point of the scene is Arya thinks she could die in the Battle of Winterfell and she doesn't want to go out as a virgin. 

So, she tracks down Gendry (hot guy) and bangs it out. Good times! 

The scene was super controversial since nobody knows Arya's age (are there consent laws in Westeros?) ... and people flooded to Wikipedia to make sure the actress, Maisie Williams, is over 18. 

Don't worry, she is. 

Hart is a hardcore 'Thrones' fan -- so, we asked for his take ... and he seemed PROUD of the youngest Stark girl, supporting her decision to go out and get what she wants. 

Oh, and who does Josh think will DIE before the series wraps up? He's got some thoughts ... 

Magic Johnson It's Like I Never Left the Lakers ... I Love This Team, and LeBron!!!

4/21/2019 12:41 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Magic Johnson has no regrets over how he resigned from the Los Angeles Lakers because he says he's still doing what he's always done ... trying to help them win.

The Lakers icon and former team president was out in Beverly Hills Saturday afternoon when we asked if he would have done anything differently now that he's had time to mull it over ... he says no way.

As you'll recall ... Magic took some heat for blindsiding everyone with his announcement -- including owner Jeanie Buss -- citing the fact he wasn't having fun running the team as his reason.

Seems like he's in good spirits now, and he tells TMZ Sports it's because he's still heavily involved with the Lakers ... basically like he's still got the job. He even says he still talks to Buss daily about team business.

Magic also says his Lakers love is unquestioned and will never waiver ... and the same goes for LeBron James. Check it out -- Magic still has a master plan for getting L.A. back to championship form with James, too.

So ... is there a way to rescind a resignation?

Donald Sterling Weighs In On Clippers ... And Magic Johnson

4/21/2019 12:40 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

It's been 5 years since the NBA forced Donald Sterling to sell the L.A. Clippers -- but the billionaire tells TMZ Sports he's STILL a fan of his former team and rooting for them in the playoffs.

Remember, Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life on April 29, 2014 over racist comments recorded by V. Stiviano and published on TMZ.  

The league forced Sterling to sell the team -- which he did a few months later for the whopping price of $2 BILLION. 

Sterling has since moved on with his life -- but when we spotted him in Beverly Hills, we had to know if he's still following the Clippers, and rooting for them in the playoffs. 

 "Of course," the 84-year-old billionaire told us on his way out of Nate'n Al ... "And, I wish them the best!" 

We also asked Sterling how he felt about Magic Johnson stepping down as the President of the Lakers -- and that's when Sterling looked up and gave a devious smirk. 

It's Sterling's previous comments about Magic that led to his own demise -- when he told V. Stiviano he didn't want her bringing black people to Clippers games, including Magic Johnson. 

Weeks after we published the recordings, Sterling went on CNN to attack Magic again -- calling him an unfit role model for children because "he's got AIDS."

Johnson fired back at the time -- saying Sterling was an ignorant old man who's still living in the stone ages.

We reached out to the Clippers to see how the felt about Sterling's support -- but we haven't heard back. 

Kobe Bryant on Mathew Knowles 1-on-1 'I Don't Think He Made Another Point'

4/19/2019 9:20 AM PDT
Breaking News

Kobe Bryant is setting the record straight on that old footage of his 1-on-1 game with Beyonce's dad ... saying he totally CRUSHED the guy ... and didn't let him score another basket!!

The 20-year-old footage surfaced last week ... showing Kobe and Mathew Knowles playing a quick pickup game on the set of Destiny's Child's "Bug a Boo" video shoot ... with MK scoring an easy layup on the Laker legend.

Mamba is finally addressing the highlight ... making it clear that even though the move was nice, he LET Knowles score ... and then he started playing forreal.

In natural Kobe fashion, Bryant wants people to know he ended up coming out on top ... even if the footage makes it look like he lost to a dude who didn't play a lick in the NBA (although Knowles hooped in college).

Kobe cops to trash-talkin' with Knowles ... and says agreed to hoop with Mathew after he mentioned playing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

We also talked to Knowles about the viral footage ... and he wants another shot at Kobe, saying he'll "kick your ass" again!! 

What do ya got going on, KB?? Let's make the rematch happen!!!

Snoop Dogg Blasts Clippers You'll Never Be the Lakers!!

4/19/2019 8:15 AM PDT
Breaking News

**WARNING -- VIDEO CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE**

Snoop Dogg is already counting the Clippers out of the playoffs -- saying they SUCK -- and they'll never be as good as the Lakers. 

The rap legend went OFF after the Clips got destroyed by the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night -- saying the series is a wrap already ... even though L.A. is only down 2-1. 

"So what y'all made the playoffs, n**** , y'all ain't doing nothing," Snoop said ... "Same ol' Clippers."

Snoop is a hardcore Lakers fan -- and even though the Lake Show didn't make the playoffs, he still thinks it's WORSE to be a Clipper. 

"Y'all still our little brothers, n****! Clippers gonna always be our little brothers ... No banners. No flags. Nothing!"

On the flip side, the Lakers have 16 championships and 31 conference titles ... plus, they've retired jerseys of some of the greatest players in NBA history -- from Magic to Kobe. 

Bottom line ... there's no L.A. love for the Clippers here. 

LeBron James Producing Boxing Docuseries ... for DAZN

4/17/2019 6:02 AM PDT
Breaking News

Another huge move for LeBron James ... not the basketball player, the Hollywood mogul. 

James -- through his media brand, Uninterrupted -- is launching a new show for DAZN called "40 Days" ... a docuseries which will follow top boxers as they prepare for major prize fights. 

In fact, the first episode will follow Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs as they gear up for their May 4 fight in Las Vegas. Part 1 of the series is scheduled to premiere on April 23. 

Canelo's participation is really no surprise considering he recently signed a $365 MILLION contract with DAZN. 

We're told LeBron and his business partner, Maverick Carter, are executive producing the Canelo episodes -- in association with DAZN and Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. 

"These documentaries will shine a light on the 3-dimensional aspect of who these athletes are outside of the ring and empower them to tell their own stories as they prepare for some of the biggest moments in their boxing careers," Maverick Carter said in a statement. 

De La Hoya has also weighed in ... saying, "This is excellent for the sport as it will provide the kind of unique lens that only LeBron James and Maverick Carter can bring. At the same time, there’s no better way for them to start this partnership than by featuring the most important boxing event of the year, so Golden Boy is proud to be a part of it."

LeBron is crushing it off-the-court these days -- besides this deal, he's also producing a new 'House Party' movie, a 'Space Jam' flick, a movie about his life and more. 

Shaquille O'Neal Hits Blueface Dance ... 'Bust Down Shaqiana!'

4/16/2019 6:53 AM PDT
Breaking News

Forget The Big Shaqtus ... just call him Shaqiana now -- 'cause Shaquille O'Neal hit the Bust Down dance -- and kinda crushed it!!

Okay, it wasn't all that great ... but dude is 7'1", 324 pounds -- so give it up for him!!!

It appears the impromptu Blueface nod went down just off the set of Shaq's ultra-popular "NBA on TNT" show Monday night ... where O'Neal broke it down for a few people in the office (one of whom had a cell phone, thank god). 

There was a dramatic buildup ... some hip thrusting ... and even a little butterfly dance. It was great.

There were some tense moments -- Shaq did try to drop things a little too low and seemed to tweak his groin. But don't worry, he's gonna be okay!!!

It's just the latest awesome feat that O'Neal's provided us on set ... 'memba when the 46-year-old threw down a monster dunk a couple of weeks ago?!?

AMAZING!!!

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