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Jay-Z Courtside at Duke Hoops Game ... Recruiting Zion?

1/23/2019 6:20 AM PST
Breaking News

If you owned a major sports agency, wouldn't you travel to wherever the hell the #1 player in the country was at??

That's what Jay-Z did on Tuesday night -- flying out to Pittsburgh to watch the Pitt Panthers take on Zion Williamson and Duke at the Petersen Events Center. 

For the record, it's not like this was some marquee matchup -- Duke is the #2 team in the country and Pitt isn't ranked. 

So, why would Jay -- as busy as he is -- leave Beyonce and the kids to see a college hoops game? 

Seems pretty obvious he's making a run at Zion -- like every other major sports agent on the planet. 

Zion is expected to be the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft -- and it would be a huge score for Roc Nation which already has stars like Kevin Durant, Saquon Barkley and Todd Gurley on the roster. 

In typical Zion fashion, he balled out in front of Hov -- dropping 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in the 79 to 64 victory.

Also, Zion's teammate, R.J. Barrett -- who's also projected to be a Top 3 pick -- did well, posting 26 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. 

Duke's #3 guy Cam Reddish had a decent stat line -- 15-6-4. 

Jay had been planning the trip for weeks, according to Pitt coach Jeff Capel who told reporters, "His people reached out to me a few weeks ago about them wanting to come ... people from Roc Nation."

"Our athletic department and our ticketing people did an amazing job accommodating that. It’s great to have the greatest rapper ever in the arena.”

Guessing Jay can charge this trip to the company account -- like he's always said ... he's a not a businessman, he's a business, man.

Floyd & Manny Painfully Awkward Handshake ... at Lakers Game

1/22/2019 6:54 AM PST
Breaking News

Manny went for the handshake. 

Floyd went for the dap. 

The result was ... well, it was a mess. 

Once again, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao came face-to-face at the Lakers game -- in what seems to be more shameless promotion for an upcoming rematch. 

Floyd was sitting on the court at Staples Center in L.A. to watch the Lakers take on the Warriors (they lost) ... when Manny came up from behind to say "What's up."

The handshake greeting was a disaster -- but they got the point across. 

The big problem ... Manny reportedly suffered an eye injury during his victory over Adrien Broner this past weekend -- which could throw a huge wrench in the rematch plans. 

According to reports, Manny feared he suffered a detached retina in his left eye. Later, his manager said the eye was "fine" and he'll be okay. 

Manny was wearing shades at the game -- so you can't see if the eye looks damaged on the surface. 

As we previously reported, Manny and Floyd have been teasing a rematch for months ... and with both fighters looking pretty solid in their last fights, it seems a deal could be close. 

The two originally fought back in 2015 -- with Floyd winning a unanimous decision in a pretty boring fight. 

We recently spoke with Manny who told us he had a bad shoulder at the time -- and now that he's fully healed, he's confident he would whoop that ass. 

No deal has been made at this point -- but we're guessing it's just a matter of time ... considering the money these guys could rake in. 

There were other big stars at the Lakers game too -- including Halsey, Alexis Ren, Mahershala AliJack Nicholson and LeBron James ... who was a spectator Monday night due to injury. 

Get well soon!

Kendall Jenner Sits with Ben Simmons' Mom ... at 76ers Game

1/22/2019 6:31 AM PST
Breaking News

Seems Ben Simmons is getting more serious about Kendall Jenner -- because he sat his girlfriend with his MOTHER at the 76ers game on Monday! 

Check out Kendall rubbing elbows with Julie Simmons at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia -- where Ben and the 76ers beat up on the Houston Rockets in a 121 to 93 victory. 

Ben's stat line wasn't spectacular -- only 9 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. And, he only hit 3 of 12 shots, which is bad for him (he usually shoots well over 50%). 

But, who cares about individual stats when your team wins, right? 

Plus, the most important question ... did Kendall and Mom get along?! Pretty well actually. The two were seen smiling and chatting. Good times. 

It's not the first time they've kicked it together -- Kendall and Julie hung out at a game back in November 2018 and got along great then too. 

Ben and Kendall have been dating on and off since May 2018. The next big question ... when does Julie get to come to L.A. to meet the rest of the Kardashians??

Stay tuned! 

Kenny Smith Scottie Pippen's Wrong Zion Shouldn't Sit Out!

1/20/2019 12:15 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Zion Williamson needs to IGNORE Scottie Pippen's advice and NOT sit out the rest of the college basketball season because it could hurt his development ... so says Kenny Smith

"When you play, you get an opportunity to hone your craft," Smith tells TMZ Sports ... "Iron sharpens iron."

Pippen sees it MUCH differently -- claiming the Duke superstar is the obvious #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft and he needs to sit out to avoid risking serious injury. 

But, Smith says sitting will essentially stunt his growth -- because the constant competition with top college talent will make him more prepared for the jump to the NBA. 

Check out the clip ... Kenny sends a personal message to Zion to keep playing ... and throws a little jab about the big UNC/Duke rivalry.

P.S. --  Yes, a Tar Heels legend is giving a Blue Devil advice. Last time we checked, hell hasn't frozen over ... yet.

Lamar Odom Called for $25,000 Traveling Violation ... In New Lawsuit

1/17/2019 2:44 PM PST
Breaking News

Lamar Odom made over $114 MILLION during his NBA career -- but a travel agent says the guy refuses to fork over a measly $25,000 for plane tickets ... and now he's suing. 

Omar Rahmani claims he booked all sorts of trips for Odom between March '18 and June '18 -- from Florida to Vegas to New York ... even a flight to Hong Kong. 

But, after racking up a $25,629.47 bill ... the NBA star refused to cut the check to Rahmani, his lawsuit claims. 

Now the guy has filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court accusing Odom of breach of contract and fraud ... and he wants all of the cash plus punitive damages. 

As for Odom, he doesn't seem too bothered by the lawsuit -- he's been training his ass off in New York to get ready for the Dubai International Basketball Championship which goes down in Feb. 

The 39-year-old has been gunning for a pro basketball comeback ever since he recovered from his drug overdose in Nevada back in 2015 when he suffered 12 strokes and 6 heart attacks

Odom has said he's got his sights set on playing in Ice Cube's BIG 3 league -- stay tuned. 

Ice Cube I Don't Want Carmelo In BIG3 ... Yet

1/17/2019 8:27 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Ice Cube is looking forward to the day Carmelo Anthony suits up for the BIG3 league, but says that shouldn't be for a long time, because he thinks 'Melo can still get it done in the NBA.

The BIG3 has become the go-to spot for ex-league guys to flex their skills, with dudes like Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, and soon to be Lamar Odom all competing at a high level.

Anthony's not doing anything right now, so when we got league boss Ice Cube at LAX we asked if he's clamoring to have 'Melo join up ... not so much.

"Of course, we'd accept him. But, he still could play in the NBA, he should be in the NBA."

Don't get Cube wrong, he'd LOVE Anthony in the BIG3, but he thinks the former scoring champ still "got some NBA in him."

Dope that Cube is supporting Anthony, but we have a question ... if Kevin Durant and Steph Curry wanted to leave the Warriors and join the BIG3, would he discourage them too?

Sure he would.

Khloe Kardashian Cavs Good Luck Charm? 'Obviously!'

1/14/2019 6:17 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The Cleveland Cavaliers finally broke their 12-game losing streaking against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday -- while Khloe Kardashian was in the stands cheering on her man Tristan Thompson

Coincidence? She thinks not! 

Khloe and TT were leaving Craig's after the game -- all smiles in great moods -- where they jokingly took the credit for the big 101-95 win over the LeBron-less Lakers at Staples Center. 

In all seriousness, Tristan had a solid game, posting a double-double (15 points, 14 rebounds) -- and he's having a pretty solid year overall. 

No sign of their daughter True out last night -- but there was definitely baby on brain for our photog ... who asked the couple if they were planning on having any more adorable kids in the future. 

They didn't say no ... 

Steph Curry College Jersey Won't Be Retired ... Until He Graduates

1/14/2019 12:40 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Steph Curry is the most famous person to EVER play basketball at Davidson College (by far!) ... so, why hasn't his jersey been retired?!

Simple -- Steph's gotta get his degree first. Seriously. 

Remember, Steph is a LEGEND at Davidson, where he was a consensus 1st Team All-American and famously led the Wildcats to the Elite 8 in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. 

So, when we spotted Steph's old college coach, Bob McKillop out in D.C., we had to get an explanation for why Steph's old #30 jersey ain't hangin' in the rafters. 

"I think he's in the process of completing his degree," McKillop told us after heaping TONS of praise on his old player. 

We followed up with the school and athletic director Chris Clunie told us that Steph is still actively working on his degree ... and as soon as he completes his education, boom -- the jersey gets retired. 

Clunie says the school is extremely proud of all that Steph has accomplished on and off the court. They love the guy. 

By the way, during his college days, Steph listed his major as sociology. Unclear if he's still pursuing that major or if he's changed it like a ton of other kids. 

Shaq If I Were a Young Star ... I'd Sign With Knicks

1/13/2019 12:40 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Forget Los Angeles ... Shaq says if he were a young baller in today's NBA -- his next free agency contract would be with the Knicks!!!

"If I was a youngster, Madison Avenue would be turning into Shaq Avenue."

It's interesting ... seeing as EVERY big-name free agent over the last several years has passed on the Knicks for other (mostly Golden State-colored) pastures.

But, the Diesel tells us he doesn't understand why dudes aren't just lining up to play in Madison Square Garden.

"People always talk about business and business after basketball. Knicks don't have a star player, so any superstar that comes there, Madison Avenue is going to open up them doors."

That could change soon ... while the free agent market ain't exactly warm for NY next summer -- a high draft pick could be in the cards.

Does that mean Zion Williamson could be the next Knicks superstar?? We know one guy who'd love to see that ...

Byron Scott Divorce Advice For Jeff Bezos ... Take It From Me!!

1/12/2019 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Byron Scott knows what it's like to go through a nasty public divorce ... so here's the ex-NBA coach giving some very valuable advice to Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos!!

The ex-Lakers star was leaving Craig's in WeHo when we broke the news to him that Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are calling it quits after 25 years.

Scott can relate -- he called things off with his wife Anita after 29 years of marriage back in 2014. The divorce wasn't exactly the friendliest split ... they went to war over everything from mansions to clothing and even hair care. 

Byron's divorce became official in 2015 after a yearlong battle -- so we had to ask if he had any pointers for Bezos. 

"Tell him I said, 'good luck' ... AND GET A GOOD LAWYER!!"

Hear that, Jeffy? Take it from Byron ... dude knows what he's talkin' about.

Shaq Defends Kevin Hart 'He Apologized, Move On'

1/11/2019 10:03 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Shaquille O'Neal is calling for people to back off Kevin Hart ... saying he shouldn't have to keep apologizing for his old homophobic jokes and wants everyone to "just move on."

"Some people feel he made a mistake," Shaq said ... "He apologized for his mistake. I always thought comedians were allowed to crack jokes."

"Anyone that knows Kevin Hart should know that anything he said was never malicious."

Of course, Shaq is referring to some of Hart's tweets and stand-up bits from 2009 to 2011 -- when the comic described how he'd react if he found out his son was gay. 

"Yo if my son comes home & try's 2 play with my daughters doll house I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that's gay,'" Hart tweeted in 2009. 

The material resurfaced after Hart was named the host of the 2019 Academy Awards -- and after a backlash online and a demand for renewed apologies, Hart pulled out of the show and only apologized after stepping down. 

"He shouldn't have to keep apologizing," Shaq said ... "He apologized twice."

"People should just move on. Everyone makes mistakes."

Of course, Shaq and Kev go way back -- Hart was a headliner Shaq's All-Star Comedy Jam back in 2009 and they've been friends ever since. 

Shaq's not the only big star who's come to Hart's defense -- Ellen DeGeneres also went to bat for the comic ... backing Kev's stance that he's evolved and said it's his right to host the Oscars. 

Enes Kanter To Turkey President: Jail Threats Don't Scare Me!

1/11/2019 8:03 AM PST
Breaking News

Enes Kanter says he won't be bullied into silence by the President of Turkey -- saying jail threats against him and his family are only inspiring him to be MORE critical of Recep Erdogan

The NY Knicks star is doubling down on his decision to remove himself from a team trip to the U.K. -- claiming he's more susceptible to Erdogan's hit squad overseas. 

"If I'm in America, I'm safe. I feel very safe," Kanter told CBS News. "But, if I step outside of America,  it will be a very dangerous situation."

Kanter says he's been under fire from Turkish officials for years for insulting Erdogan publicly -- even calling the guy the "Hitler of our generation."

Other U.S. officials, including Rep. Peter King, have told TMZ Sports ... Kanter's fears are warranted because Erdogan is a bad dude and runs Turkey like a police state. 

Kanter has been labeled a terrorist for his comments -- and says officials have even locked his father as retribution. 

"If you speak out against Erdoğan, that means you're a terrorist. If he cannot put you in jail, then he will take your family away and put them in jail and say, 'if you don't stop running against me, then I'm gonna keep your family in jail.'"

"That's what he's trying to do, did that to me, that he tried to put my dad in jail, so he thought that I was gonna stop talking, that made me even talk about this more so the world can see it."

As we previously reported, ex-NBA player Hedo Turkoglu -- who's also from Turkey -- ripped Kanter on social media ... saying his claims against the President are baseless and reckless

Then again, Turkoglu also serves as an advisor to Erdogan. 

Jalen Rose Melo's NBA Career Is Over, Unless ...

1/10/2019 9:17 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

It's gonna take a minor TRAGEDY to get Carmelo Anthony back in the NBA -- so says Jalen Rose who thinks Melo's pro hoops career is over unless a team loses a player to injury. 

34-year-old Anthony hasn't played in the league since parting ways with Houston earlier this season -- but there have rumblings he'll team up with LeBron James on the Lakers before the All-Star break next month. 

Rose ain't holding his breath ... unless an NBA team loses a player to injury and they could plug Melo in to fill the role. Still, Jalen explains why it's complicated. 

"He can still contribute. It's just ... finding the right opportunity is tough because unless there's a major injury, a contender team probably wouldn't add him. And then, a lottery team is probably looking to 'Stop tryin' for Zion,' so they're tanking in a lot of ways."

"Maybe an injury happens and he gets back in the league."

Rose says Melo is a surefire NBA Hall of Famer -- and he really doesn't want to see his career end after a less-than-memorable 10-game stint in Houston. 

"He deserves better."

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