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Steve Sarkisian 'Fired Up' to Return to Alabama ... 'Great Opportunity'

4/21/2019 12:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Steve Sarkisian says he's super excited to return to Tuscaloosa ... telling TMZ Sports he can't wait to get back to work as the offensive coordinator at Alabama. 

Sark had a stint under Nick Saban as an offensive analyst back in 2016 -- where he helped the Tide get all the way to the National Championship game against Clemson. 

After the '16 season, Sark was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons -- but he was let go at the end of the 2018 season. 

Enter, Saban ... who swooped in and hired Sarkisian back as the new O-Coordinator -- and the 45-year-old coach tells us he's "fired up" about the job. 

"I'm excited man," Sark told us at LAX ... "It's a great opportunity!" 

When asked if he's still hoping to get back to the NFL one day, Sark told us, "Ya never know. Just focus on the job you have now. I'm fired up to have it."

And, he's already talking like a mini-Saban -- we asked if he's got his sights set on avenging the championship loss to Clemson and Sark told us, "Just take it one day at a time, man. You know the process at Alabama."

No bulletin board material here!!! 

NBA Prospect Tacko Fall Worst Part About Being 7'6" Is ...

4/18/2019 2:35 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

It ain't always great being a giant ... just ask 7'6" NBA draft prospect Tacko Fall ... who's telling TMZ Sports what sucks most about being incredibly tall!!

The ex-UCF Knights star was towering through LAX on Thursday ... when he gave us the lowdown on the pros and cons of being one of the tallest people on the planet.

Tacko says it comes in handy at the grocery store whenever he needs to reach the top shelves and "look over everything" ... but when it comes to bathing, it really stinks ... 'cause he's taller than the shower!!

Fall -- who had a big showdown with Zion Williamson in the NCAA Tournament last month -- doesn't have a custom shower to accommodate his size just yet ... but if he gets drafted, expect that to be one of his first purchases.

We also asked Fall what team he'd love to go to in June's draft ... and what Tacko's favorite kinda taco is!!

Shareef O'Neal I'm Hooping Again!!! Returns From Heart Surgery

4/17/2019 6:34 PM PDT

Shareef O'Neal is making a dramatic return to the basketball court ... stepping back onto the hardwood 4 months after undergoing heart surgery!!! 

The UCLA star posted a picture Wednesday evening of him getting some shots up on campus ... and it's great to see him playing the game he loves. 

Shareef missed his entire freshman season after going under the knife in December to correct an irregularity with his heart ... and his post-op pictures proved just how serious the procedure was. 

Shareef's return is great news for UCLA and new head coach Mick Cronin ... the Bruins struggled to a 17-16 record without the services of the star recruit, missing the NCAA Tournament by a mile. 

When we got Shareef out at Staples Center in early March, Shaq's son told us he was about 6 weeks away from returning to the floor ... and it turns out his timetable was spot on. 

Welcome back, big fella!!!

Zion Williamson Declares for 2019 NBA Draft ... Duh

4/15/2019 3:06 PM PDT
Breaking News

File Under, "The Most Obvious News Ever" ... Zion Williamson is leaving Duke and declaring for the NBA Draft. 

Yeah, no kidding. 

Williamson was a monster in high school and became a global sensation during his 1 year at Duke -- where he was widely regarded as the #1 player in the country. 

Now, he's projected to be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft, according to anyone who's ever watched basketball. 

The 18-year-old made his announcement in a video -- in which he thanked everyone at Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski for "the best year of my life."

Zion says he learned more about basketball in his 1 year at Duke than he ever thought possible -- but ultimately decided to leave to pursue his dream of becoming an NBA player. 

"I don't think I can put it into words how special this year was," Zion said ... shouting out his teammates for the "brotherhood" he experienced. 

As for Zion's bank account ... last year's #1 pick DeAndre Ayton signed a 4-year, $40 million contract -- so expect Zion's to be a little bigger than that. 

Zion will also sign a MASSIVE shoe deal now that he's going pro -- with Nike brand legend Sonny Vaccaro telling TMZ Sports he wouldn't be shocked if Zion got a $100 MILLION deal. 

Good luck!

Notre Dame's Javon McKinley Strikes Plea Deal In Drunken Cop-Punching Case

4/15/2019 10:03 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

Notre Dame WR Javon McKinley is about to be off the hook in his drunken cop-punching case ... TMZ Sports has learned the Irish stud just struck a deal with prosecutors to have his charges dropped.

We broke the story ... McKinley -- a SUPERSTAR back in his high school days -- allegedly battered 2 officers in a drunken attack near ND's campus last February.

Cops say they were dispatched to help McKinley, who was passed out in the back of an Uber at 3:50 AM ... but he became combative when they tried to give the assist.

Cops say as they were walking McKinley -- who they say reeked of booze -- back to his dorm room, he freaked out, punched a male and a female officer and tried to flee.

When they eventually found the 20-year-old ... they arrested him and hit him with 2 counts of misdemeanor battery and 1 count of misdemeanor underage drinking.

But, prosecutors tell us they agreed to drop the charges on Monday as long as McKinley completes a misdemeanor pretrial diversion program. It's all but a done deal at this point. 

We're told Javon must complete a substance abuse evaluation, perform 40 hours of community service, pay fines and fees and keep his nose clean for the next 2 years.

For his part, prosecutors say McKinley was eligible for such a sweet deal because he "sought out and apologized to each person involved in the incident."

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced last month he had suspended the receiver indefinitely because of the incident.

Anthony Gonzalez Nick Bosa Cut His Pro-Trump Tweets?!? ... I'm Cool With It

4/14/2019 12:15 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Anthony Gonzalez -- an ex-Ohio State star and current Republican congressman -- says he's fine with Nick Bosa deleting his pro-Trump tweets ... saying the NFL prospect should focus on football.

Bosa made the announcement this month that he was cutting back the political rhetoric on his Twitter page -- which used to feature Trump praise as well as scorn for national anthem kneelers.

His reason? Per ESPN, "I had to. There is a chance I might end up in San Francisco."

Enter Gonzalez ... who says he's cool with the ex-Buckeyes superstar making that call, telling TMZ Sports, "When you're playing football, I think the goal should be to focus on the game."

As for how Bosa's previously loud political opinions will impact his relationship with future teammates ... Gonzalez thinks it won't be an issue at all.

"There's not a lot that could really distract individual players. That was always my experience."

By the way, Gonzalez likes Bosa's chances in the NFL Draft later this month ... saying he can definitely see the pass rusher landing at No. 1 overall!!!

Brett Favre Tebow & Bush Aren't Best CFB Players Ever ... Here's Who Is

4/13/2019 12:20 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Tim Tebow and Reggie Bush are NOT the greatest college football players ever ... so says Brett Favre, who tells TMZ Sports that honor belongs to Southern Miss QB Reggie Collier.

"Not only is he the greatest player in Southern Miss history, he is, in my opinion, the greatest college football player ever."

So, who is Reggie Collier? He was a star quarterback for the Golden Eagles from 1979 to 1982 ... and he piled up 3,662 passing yards and 2,304 rushing yards in his 4 collegiate seasons.

Favre says he knows those numbers don't exactly compare to Tebow's and Bush's -- who, by the way, both won Heisman Trophies -- but he still says the guy is the best he's seen.

"Physically, he was second to none," Favre tells us ... "And would still be second to none at 6'4", 225, 230, ran a 4.4 40, could throw the lights out of it ... I don't think that any person watching him could not marvel at what he was able to do."

"I certainly wanted to be him."

Favre can't exactly be him these days ... but the Packers legend has a chance to BEAT him -- the two will square off as honorary coaches in this weekend's Southern Miss spring game.

As for the whole best college football player ever debate ... here's some vid of Collier. Does he look as good as Tebow or Bush to you???

Travis Kelce Chugs Beers, Mahomes Cheers ... at NCAA Title Game

4/9/2019 6:58 AM PDT
Breaking News

Virginia won the title, but NO ONE had more fun than Travis Kelce ... 'cause the NFL star was pounding brews while supporting Patrick Mahomes' team!!

Kelce's Cincinnati Bearcats were eliminated in the 1st-round of the tourney, so with no horse in the race, he decided to show love for his QB's Texas Tech squad as they took on the Cavaliers.

Mahomes was SUPER into the game, constantly cheering and firing up his TT fans. Kelce was the perfect wingman -- making sure no beer got left behind. 

Of course, Texas Tech lost in overtime. Still, a helluva run for the Red Raiders. 

As for the winners, NFL star Chris Long was also in the house cheering on his alma mater -- while clutching a Coors Light -- and after the game, he had a message for Virginia coach Tony Bennett

"Tony’s way too stable a person to have a twitter and he won’t read this but when I see him I’m going to hug him and tell him he’s the single most important figure in UVa athletic history."

Long also had some nice words for the enemy -- saying, "Everyone from Texas Tech I met was super classy and cool."

"Great run. Knocked off some great teams. A game for the ages tonight."

Congrats! 

Virginia Basketball Burn The Couches!!! ... To Celebrate Title

4/9/2019 6:00 AM PDT
Breaking News

The IKEA furniture didn't stand a chance in Charlottesville after Virginia won the NCAA championship Monday night ... because there was a SOFA INFERNO right on the streets! 

The Cavaliers defeated Texas Tech in an overtime thriller in Minnesota to clinch the school's very first national title -- and the fans back home in VA went crazy to celebrate. 

Check out this footage of UVA fans setting fire to a couch and dancing around while chanting "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes in video shot by reporter Austin Kellerman

Fortunately, no one was hurt and cops reportedly didn't make any arrests -- so all in all, pretty harmless fun. 

Other students and fans flooded campus to chant and cheer -- the videos are insane! 

Auburn Gymnast Retires After Breaking Both Legs

4/8/2019 1:29 PM PDT
Breaking News

There will be no triumphant comeback for the Auburn gymnast who broke both of her legs during a floor routine at the NCAA Regional Semifinals ... Samantha Cerio says she's retiring from the sport. 

Cerio snapped both of her legs while trying to land a handspring double front on Friday -- she was stretchered off the mat with 2 air casts.

**WARNING -- THE VIDEO IS GNARLY AND GRAPHIC**

Auburn went on to advance to the Regional Final ... but Cero says Friday was "my final night as a gymnast."

Cerio issued a statement saying, "After 18 years I am hanging up my grips and leaving the chalk behind."

The Auburn senior says she learned a lot from the sport -- including hard work, humility, integrity and dedication ... but has ultimately decided to move on.

"It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned."

"Thank you Auburn family for giving me a home and a chance to continue doing the sport that will always be my first love. I am honored to have had the privilege to represent the navy and orange AU for the past 4 years with my team by my side. Thank you for letting me share my passion with you. Thank you for letting me be a part of something bigger than myself."

Get well soon ... and also, DON'T WATCH THE VIDEO IF YOU CAN'T STAND GRUESOME IMAGERY!!!

Charles Barkley Bashes T-Wolves at Katy Perry Concert ... Y'all Suck!!!

4/8/2019 11:43 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Charles Barkley is getting over that devastating Auburn loss by trashing any sports team in sight .... and his first target was the Minnesota Timberwolves ... saying the team flat-out SUCKS!!

Chuck took the stage at the free Katy Perry concert for the Final Four in Minneapolis on Sunday night ... and he didn't hold back when addressing their beloved hoops team.

"I wanna thank Minneapolis, Minnesota you guys have a great, great city," Barkley tells the crowd. "I wanna thank y'all for a great weekend. 

Which is great! How nice of Barkley to say th--

"I haven't been here for a long time because the Timberwolves suck."

Oh no ... Chuck, what are you doing?!?! These fans LOVE Karl-Anthony Towns and the gang, even if they're worse than the Lakers and have made the playoffs once since 2004.

The fans let him hear it ... booing Barkley to no end.

The dude's obviously still hurtin' from the Tigers' 1-point loss to Virginia in the Final Four over the weekend ... but sheesh, what did Minnesota ever do to Chuck!?

Sonny Vaccaro I'd Give Zion A $100 Million Shoe Deal!!

4/4/2019 1:30 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Sonny Vaccaro -- a LEGEND in the shoe brand industry -- says he'd offer Zion Williamson a $100 MILLION endorsement deal ... telling TMZ Sports the Duke star deserves more than what LeBron got out of high school.

"There are particular, singular athletes that can move the needle," Sonny says ... "Zion Williamson has moved the needle before he even became a professional."

Of course, LBJ currently holds the record for biggest shoe brand contract ever given to an NBA prospect ... scoring a $90 million deal from Nike before he took the court for the Cavaliers in 2003.

Sonny -- who helped broker the first-ever Michael Jordan-Nike deal back in the day -- says he'd have no problems eclipsing that LBJ number for Zion.

"Zion Williamson is known to 14-, 15-, 13-, 60-, 70-, 80-year-old people because of his brilliance, his charismatic presence. That's why he's different."

Seems a lot of people agree ... when we got former Blue Devils star Jay Williams out in NYC over a month ago -- he said a 9-figure contract for Z wouldn't surprise him.

Now the only question seems to be ... which shoe brand is Zion going to accept all that cash from?!

Clemson Football Shades Alabama ... w/ Epic National Championship Rings

4/4/2019 10:41 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

Clemson's epic national championship rings feature 2 trophies ... 32 signature stones ... and one perfectly executed piece of shade at Alabama football!!!

TMZ Sports has learned the "Best Ever" line inscribed into the side of the Tigers' national title rings -- which the team received at a ceremony Wednesday -- is a subtle shot at the Tide.

We're told Clemson heard the constant media talk about Bama being the greatest college football team ever ... and had to hear it for months while they quietly ran through their season, undefeated.

So, after they beat Nick Saban's guys 44-16 in January's National Championship game, designers made sure to include the words "Best Ever" on the rings to rub it in.

The ring's other features are dope too ... we're told the two CFP trophies represent the Tigers' 2016 and 2018 wins -- and the 14 stones inside the Tiger paw print are for Clemson's 14 straight bowl game appearances.

We've also learned the 18 stones at the top and bottom of the ring represent Clemson's 18 ACC titles ... and the mottos inscribed all over the ring are hat tips toward Dabo Swinney-isms.

The Tigers also received two other sick rings -- also made by Jostens and helped create by Thomas Rhodes -- for their championship season ... one for their ACC title and one for their run in the CFP.

As for how the team feels about them?? Check out the vid below -- something tells us the Tigers are #Allin on 'em!!!

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