TMZ

TMZ SPORTS

  • FS1
    M-T-Th-F:
    9:00 PM PST

    W:
    9:30 PM PST

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.

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. 

Dwight Howard Slams Lawsuit I Never Made Violent Threats

3/13/2019 12:21 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

Dwight Howard says allegations he threatened a man for not signing a non-disclosure agreement is pure BS -- telling TMZ Sports he's never even met the person behind the lawsuit. 

The NBA star is being sued by Masin Elije -- who claims in a lawsuit filed in Georgia that Howard approached him in Nov. 2018 and asked him to sign an NDA "regarding their communications."

Dwight tells us ... "I don't know this person, never seen him. Any allegation said about me is false."

TMZ Sports obtained a copy of Elije's suit, filed in Georgia. In the documents, Elije does not say what Dwight was allegedly trying to keep quiet -- but says he REFUSED to sign an NDA and tried to end all contact with Dwight.

Elije claims Howard then began acting hostile -- and made "threats on his life."

The lawsuit says ... "Mr. Elije started receiving threats to his safety and well-being via a multitude of phone calls, text messages, communications on various social media platforms and emails, all of which were from unfamiliar or disguised sources."

Elije claims he reached out to Dwight's family members and also police in the hopes of getting the threats to stop ... "all to no avail."

Elije is now suing for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress -- and he's demanding punitive damages. 

BlackSportsOnline first reported the news about Elije's lawsuit. 

He's also asking the judge to force Dwight to cover all of his legal expenses -- because he's racked up a fortune in costs due to Dwight's alleged actions. 

Dwight has already lawyered up and tells TMZ Sports he plans on taking legal action of his own against what he describes as a "money grab."

Damian Lillard Brother's Shooter Pleads Guilty ... To Attempted Murder

3/13/2019 9:28 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

One of the men who shot Damian Lillard's brother in a mall parking lot last year has pled guilty to attempted murder ... TMZ Sports has learned.

As we previously reported, then-20-year-old Jahrell Lillard -- the Portland Trail Blazers star's half-brother -- was shot on March 29, 2018 during an altercation with 2 men in Clackamas County, Oregon.

Cops say Lillard was shot in the Clackamas Town Center parking lot in what appeared to be a targeted attack -- with witnesses saying they heard 5 to 10 gunshots fired in the confrontation.

Jahrell suffered injuries ... but reportedly survived the attack -- with Damian saying just a day after the shooting that his brother was "stable" and "doing fine."

Now, we've learned one of the men responsible for the shooting, 20-year-old Jeffrey Jessie, cut a deal with prosecutors in the case and has pled guilty to attempted murder and one count of felon in possession of a firearm in order to avoid a jury trial.

Jessie was facing FOUR total felonies ... which added up to a possible punishment of 50 YEARS behind bars.

Unclear what Jessie will face now after agreeing to the plea deal -- he's due back in court next week for sentencing -- but the maximum punishment for his 2 charges is now 25 years.

Kobe Bryant Stolen High School Jersey Found In China

3/13/2019 6:09 AM PDT
Breaking News

Crazy story, crazy ending. 

A Kobe Bryant high school basketball jersey -- stolen out of the school's trophy case in 2017 -- has been located by a fan in China who's returning the item ... for free!!

Here's the deal ... someone broke into a display case at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania on Super Bowl Sunday in 2017 and jacked the autographed #33 Bryant jersey he had signed for the school. 

Bryant was a high school phenom at Lower Merion -- where he scored nearly 2,900 points during his 4 years. He also scored a date to his prom with Brandy, 'memba that?!

Well, there was a huge break in the missing jersey case ... when a Kobe superfan in China named Liu Zhe noticed the jersey he recently bought for $2,000 looked VERY similar to the stolen jersey. 

Turns out ... it IS the same jersey. 

So, 28-year-old Zhe ... being a good dude ... decided to send the jersey back to the school, free of charge, because he felt it was the right thing to do, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin

The good news ... Lower Merion has already received the jersey and reps are now working with police to see if they can track down the thief who jacked it in the first place. 

So, what does Liu want for his role in the jersey recovery? Nothing really ... just for Kobe to know he did the right thing. 

Pretty cool. 

Russell Westbrook Fan Banned For Life For Excessive Verbal Abuse

3/12/2019 2:13 PM PDT
Breaking News

2:13 PM PT-- Westbrook has been fined $25k for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”

1:54 PM PT -- The Utah Jazz just announced that they have permanently banned the fan involved in the verbal altercation with Russell Westbrook after they say a team investigation revealed the fan acted inappropriately.

The Jazz just released a statement ... saying, "The Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Group announced today a permanent ban of the fan who engaged in the inappropriate interaction with the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook last night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The ban is effective immediately and includes all arena events."

"The organization conducted an investigation through video review and eyewitness accounts. The ban is based on excessive and derogatory verbal abuse directed at a player during the game that violated the NBA Code of Conduct."

"The Utah Jazz will not tolerate fans who act inappropriately. There is no place in our game for personal attacks or disrespect."

Jazz President Steve Starks also addressed the situation ... saying, "Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy and play the game in a safe, positive and inclusive environment."

"Offensive and abusive behavior does not reflect the values of the Miller family, our organization and the community. We all have a responsibility to respect the game of basketball and, more importantly, each other as human beings. This has always been a hallmark of our incredible fan base and should forever be our standard moving forward."

"I swear to God, I'll f*ck you up, you and your wife. I'll f*ck you up."

Russell Westbrook let the profanities fly at the OKC Thunder vs. Utah Jazz game on Monday ... verbally threatening physical harm on a fan in the 2nd quarter of the game.

So, what did the fan say to set Russ off??

If you ask the fan, 45-year-old Shane Keisel, he denies ANY inappropriate or racist words were said, claiming he yelled, "Ice those knees up!" to the MVP.

As for his wife being involved, Keisel says she never said a word ... and is pissed Westbrook went after her too.

"She never got up. She never stood up. She never said a word to him," the fan told ESPN after the game.

"I mean, it's all fine, we're having fun and games with the guy and we're talking, but at the end of the day, no man should threaten a woman, period."

"I'm not afraid of the guy. Come on up. But when you threaten a woman that's 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, you're a big man. So this guy needs to be exposed."

Brodie says he doesn't regret the blowup because he heard something completely different -- something racially charged -- "Get down on your knees like you're used to" ... and that's what made him go nuclear.

"For me, I'm just not going to continue to take disrespect for my family," Westbrook told reporters after the game.

"And if I had to do it again, I would say the same exact thing, because I truly will stand up for myself, for my family, for my kids, for my wife, for my mom, for my dad every single time.

"I expect anybody else to do the same. So that's kind of where I'm at with the whole situation."

"As for beating up his wife, I have never put my hand on a woman; I never will. Never been in any domestic violence before. Never have before, but once he said the comment, his wife repeated the same thing to me as well. So that's kind of how that started."

Russell has gotten support from ex-NBAer Matt Barnes ... who said, "I said it b4 @utahjazz have the most racist fans in the @NBA."

The Jazz released a statement ... saying, "We are continuing to investigate the unfortunate exchange at tonight’s game between Russell Westbrook and fans."

"Multiple warning cards were issued by arena security. Players and fans have a shared responsibility to create a safe and respectful environment. If it is determined that any fans violated the NBA Code of Conduct, appropriate action will be taken."

Originally Published -- 6:41 AM PT

Knicks' James Dolan Banned Heckler In 2018 ... Also Said, 'Sell the Team'

3/12/2019 12:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Another NY Knicks fan claims James Dolan banned him FOR LIFE from Knicks games for telling the owner to "sell the team" in 2018 ... and TMZ Sports has the stay away document to prove it!!!

The guy we spoke with is still so afraid of retaliation from Dolan and the Knicks, he asked us to keep his identity a secret ... but provided us with the letter he got from MSG informing he was never allowed back in The Garden. 

This incident took place in 2018 ... the fan we spoke with describes the incident as nearly IDENTICAL to the one captured on video on Saturday. 

Basically, the fan says he yelled at Dolan to sell the Knicks -- and that's when he was approached by 2 cops and 5 security guards who escorted him to the bowels of MSG where he got his lifetime ban. 

In fact, the fan says Dolan personally grabbed security personnel to make sure his order was carried out. 

"Dolan himself made sure, came down and shouted 'FOR LIFE' and kept walking," the fan tells us, "It was surreal to say the least."

The fan says he was fully cooperative with law enforcement -- and insists some of the guards sympathized with him -- but he still got the ban. 

A short time later, the fan says he received a letter from the Senior VP of legal and business affairs at MSG spelling out his punishment -- "In light of this incident, you are hereby indefinitely banned from Madison Square Garden."

TMZ Sports posted footage of Dolan issuing the same lifetime ban to a different fan on Saturday. Guessing he'll be getting a similar letter sometime soon.

These guys aren't the only people who got the boot from Dolan -- ex-Knicks star Charles Oakley was famously dragged out of MSG in 2017 after an incident involving Dolan.

After the first incident from over the weekend, a rep for the arena told us, "Our policy is and will continue to be that if you are disrespectful to anyone in our venues, we will ask you not to return."

The bans have been met with criticism from Hollywood stars like D.L. Hughley and New York politicians, including Adriano Espaillat

NY Congressman Shades Knicks Owner 'I Don't Like People Being Banned'

3/11/2019 3:45 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

A pretty powerful NY congressman is taking issue with James Dolan -- telling TMZ Sports he's AGAINST banning fans unless they do something to really deserve it.  

We spoke with Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D) -- who represents NY's 13th District, which is comprised of Upper Manhattan and a small part of the Bronx. Basically, Knicks country. 

So, we asked Espaillat how he feels about Dolan banning a Knicks fan who shouted at the owner to "sell the team" during Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden ... and it seems he's against it. 

"I don't like people being banned," Espaillat tells us ... "Fans are fans. They're never wrong ... not unless they do something wrong."

Translation -- Dolan needs to grow some thicker skin. 

Of course, Espaillat ain't the only person who feels that way ... D.L. Hughley told us Dolan was WAY out of line and suggested the Knicks should be BEGGING fans to watch their games since they suck so bad. 

The Knicks have only won 13 games this season and boast the worst record in the NBA.

Around the Web