Damar Hamlin Attends 'Masked Singer' Taping ... First Public Speaking Appearance

Damar Hamlin was a special guest at a taping for "The Masked Singer" Tuesday night ... marking the Buffalo Bills safety's first public speaking appearance since his medical emergency last month.

TMZ Sports has obtained pictures from the set of the taping ... showing the 24-year-old holding a football and smiling on stage alongside host Nick Cannon, with his name in big red letters on the screen behind him.

Hamlin made his first public appearance at the Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game on Jan. 22 ... but while he was present to show support for his team, he did not speak to the media.

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Hamlin has since posted videos on his social media -- thanking his supporters and kickstarting a CPR challenge campaign with the American Heart Association -- so this is believed to be the first time he has spoken in public since the Monday Night Football game on Jan. 2.

TMZ INVESTIGATES

We're told Hamlin attended the taping alongside his young brother, Damir, who's a big fan of the show ... and he wanted to come along to check out the action.

Season nine of "The Masked Singer" airs Feb. 15 on FOX ... and it's safe to say Bills Mafia will be tuning in to check out their beloved player.

Eagles' Josh Sills Allegedly Forced Woman To Perform Oral Sex In Truck

UPDATE

11:45 AM PT -- The NFL has placed Josh Sills on the Commissioner Exempt List in wake of the charges ... meaning the Eagles lineman will not be allowed to practice, play in games, or travel with the team until he's off of it.

Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Josh Sills allegedly forced a woman to perform oral sex on him for "approximately 20 minutes" in his truck back in 2019 ... this according to a new police report, obtained by TMZ Sports.

In the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office docs, cops say a woman told them the incident happened in Ohio at around 2 AM on Dec. 5, 2019 ... after Sills had given her and her cousin a ride back to her cousin's home from a local cafe.

Cops say the alleged victim, who was 21 years old at the time, told them as her cousin got out of the car -- Sills grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back in. The woman, according to the docs, said her cousin "did not think anything of it and shut the door and walked into the house."

In the report, authorities say the woman told them Sills then began his sexual assault, attempting to kiss her ... before grabbing her by the neck and throwing her down on the seat. The alleged victim said Sills unbuttoned her pants and began groping her -- all while she told him to stop repeatedly.

Cops say the woman told them Sills eventually sat up, grabbed her by the back of her neck and pulled her on top of him -- telling her, "she was doing this and was not leaving until she did this."

She claims, according to the report, that Sills then forced her to perform oral sex "until he did his thing." She asked him afterward if she could leave, according to the report, and after he told her "you will talk to me again," she got out of the truck and ran inside the home.

Cops say the woman told them Sills then left.

Police say in the report the woman had bruising in the back of her throat, her inner lip, her right ear and on the back of her left knee following the alleged assault. Cops said they did take photographs of her injuries.

According to the report, the woman had known Sills, who was also 21 years old at the time, for approximately seven or eight years ... and had attended high school with him.

As we reported, police conducted an investigation into it all ... and the NFL player was eventually indicted on one count of felony rape and one count of kidnapping on Wednesday.

He's due in court for a hearing in the case on Feb. 16 -- just four days after his Eagles team takes on the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.

It's not clear yet if the 25-year-old rookie reserve lineman will suit up for the game -- the Eagles said in a statement Wednesday afternoon, "The organization is aware of the legal matter involving Josh Sills. We have been in communication with the league office and are in the process of gathering more information. We have no further comment at this time."

Originally Published -- 11:30 AM PT

Breanna Stewart K.D. Hyped After Signing With Liberty ... 'Lets Get It!!!

Kevin Durant got his wish -- WNBA superstar Breanna Stewart just signed with the New York Liberty ... and he's hyped!!!

The former Seattle Storm forward announced her decision Wednesday by posting a video wearing her new team's merch ... and playing Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State Of Mind" in the background.

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Durant -- who was actively recruiting Stewart to the Big Apple -- went straight to Twitter when he saw the news ... saying, "Aye, don’t call my phone lookin for tickets this summer, they gone."

"Let’s get it @nyliberty."

Of course, the Brooklyn Nets star is probably patting himself on the back just a little bit ... considering he revealed on Monday he was texting the 2-time WNBA champ, telling her to join the NY team.

"I hit Stewie the other day," Durant said on the Boardroom podcast. "And I never do this, and was like, 'Yo, it would be an incredible dynasty in New York City if you came here."

He's right -- Stewart is one of the best in the WNBA ... and now, she's joining star guard Sabrina Ionescu and 6'6" forward Jonquel Jones to make a Big 3.

Ionescu is clearly stoked over the new addition ... and shared a photoshopped pic of the trio together after the massive deal.

Stewart wasn't the only big signing in the WNBA's offseason ... Candace Parker officially signed with the defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

New York Liberty versus the Vegas Aces for the 2023 WNBA Finals? We'll see!!!

And, shout out to KD and his recruiting skills.

Michael Bisping Knocks Competitor Out Of Power Slap Competition ... With 1 Slap!

RECIPE FOR EXCELLENCE
TMZSports.com

43-year-old Michael Bisping's still got it!

The retired, former UFC Middleweight champion, turned Power Slap commentator, joined the 'TMZ Sports' TV show on Wednesday to talk about his new gig ... when we asked Michael, if, for research purposes, he ever doled out a slap.

Turns out, oh yes, he has! Bisping told us the story of the time when competitor Jesse Nutting asked for a slap ... and a slap he got.

"The guy involved, he says to me, 'give me a little slap, Bisping,'" Michael explained, adding, "I did not give him a proper slap, but I gave him just a little mess around. Anyways, he was scheduled for the last slap contest of the day, if you will."

ENTERING THE FOLD
Power Slap

So, Bisping slapped Nutting and went about his business calling the fights.

"We're commentating on the fights and we're waiting for the last one to come out. And, then we're waiting and we're waiting and he doesn't show up. Then the producer comes in and tells me, 'Mike, apparently, the guy that you slapped, afterward, he started feeling all fuzzyheaded and blurry and he said that he can't compete.'"

"'The doctor looked at him and said that he's totally fine.' But, I don't believe this. Controversy follows me wherever I go."

Jesse didn't fight, and Bisping was worried he screwed up the event.

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"Dana and all the partners put a lot of money into this. A lot of organization. Our commentator, that idiot Bisping is backstage slapping the fighters and we can't continue. I thought, 'Oh, My God, I'm going to get fired for sure.' Classic me strikes again. I will be slapping nobody. Punching nobody. I'm just going to sit there. Do my job. And, try to be as boring as possible."

We also talked to one of the Power Slap breakout stars, Michael "Slap Jesus" Smith ... about how the former MMA fighter turned into a slap fighter.

GAINING GROUND
TMZSports.com

"I had my first MMA fight a couple years ago, and I started looking for more fights on Facebook groups and came across a post from one of the producers," Smith said. "I looked it up, seen it was from The Ultimate Fighter people ... and said, 'Let's go!'"

Smith says he loves the slap-fighting experience ... adding, "It's right up my alley!"

Power Slap airs Wednesday nights! 🤚

Arena Football League Returning In 2024 ... Makes History w/ First Black Commish

The Arena Football League has a message -- "we are back!" -- the league that went dormant years ago is returning, and they're making some history in the process, becoming the first American sports league with a Black commissioner at the helm!

TMZ Sports has learned Lee A. Hutton III has been installed as the league's new commish. Hutton's an attorney who worked on big cases involving the NFL and NCAA ... so he's been around the sports world for years.

The AFL plans to relaunch with 16 teams next year, and play a 10-game season.

The games will be played in the summer -- a slow time for U.S. sports -- before the NFL season gets up and running.

“Our commitment is to deliver a professional sports event every week indoors, on the shoulder of the summer season when the world craves entertainment and competition,” Chairman Chris Chetty said.

“We aim to produce a family-friendly, yet equally electric atmosphere for our committed fans. As Chairman, my objective will be to change the culture of professional sports ownership and it is with great confidence that I state – from the owners to the players – we will be the most racially-diverse professional sports league in the world.”

Of course, the AFL, which began in 1987, was once a thriving league that ran for over 30 seasons ... but they never recovered after running into financial troubles in the late 2000s.

But, ownership of the league changed hands ... and now the league's back, and ready to play some football!

The original AFL had celeb owners like Jon Bon Jovi., among other stars. While it's unclear who will own the 16 new teams, don't be surprised if you recognize a name or two.

Vermont Youth Basketball 60-Year-Old Dead After Fight At Game ... Police Investigating

A 60-year-old man died following a wild brawl at a middle school basketball game in Vermont on Tuesday night ... and now, cops say they're investigating it all.

The fight broke out at the Alburgh Community Education Center in Alburgh ... during a hoops game that involved seventh and eighth-grade boys from Alburgh and St. Albans middle schools.

Video that was shot from the alleged scene shows several adults rushed onto the court -- kicking and punching each other -- all while the kids looked on from the sidelines.

It's unclear what sparked the melee ... Vermont State Police said in a statement Wednesday that when officers showed up to the scene just before 7 PM, the fracas had ended and several people involved in the tiff had already left the school.

Cops say Russell Giroux was injured during the fight and was transported to a nearby hospital. Tragically, he was pronounced dead at the medical facility. His body, cops say, will undergo an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of his death.

The VSP says it's now investigating the circumstances surrounding it all -- though no arrests have been made yet. They're asking anyone with information to come forward or call the Detective's Office at the St. Albans Barracks at 802-524-5993.

Both schools released statements Wednesday on the incident ... calling it all heartbreaking.

"All of us in the Maple Run Community are shocked and saddened by last night’s death of Russell Giroux after a physical altercation during a basketball game at the Alburgh Community Education Center," Alburgh M.S. officials said.

"We extend our condolences and sympathies to his family and friends. Since our students observed the altercation, we are working in the next days to support our students and families in dealing with the consequences of the altercation and Mr. Giroux's death."

Added St. Albans, "Our immediate goal is to remind and educate our students and families that our school culture is one of family, community, and kindness."

Mahomes, J.J. Watt, Derek Jeter Praise Tom Brady After Retirement 'Greatest Of All Time'

Tom Brady's retirement announcement has resulted in a ton of tributes on social media ... with the 7-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback getting showered with praise from some of the greatest athletes in sports.

Patrick Mahomes, J.J. Watt, and Derek Jeter took time to congratulate Brady on his storied career -- expressing how much it meant to watch him play in the NFL.

Of course, Mahomes and Brady have had their fair share of battles over the years -- they played against each other in an AFC Championship Game and in Super Bowl LV.

Brady announced his retirement with a video on social media ... and once the Kansas City Chiefs' star quarterback got wind of the news, he tweeted three GOAT emojis at TB12.

Watt -- who announced his own retirement earlier this season -- spoke about how special it was to compete against Tom, calling him the unquestioned GOAT.

"Greatest of All Time," Watt tweeted. "No question, no debate. It’s been an honor and a privilege. PS - The newly retired group meets on the golf course every morning at 10am."

"Drinks are on the new guy, so bring your wallet."

Ex-NY Yankees captain Derek Jeter -- one of the greatest performers in MLB postseason history -- congratulated TB for all his accomplishments, saying, "it was fun to watch."

Broncos quarterback, Russell Wilson -- who Brady defeated in Super Bowl XLIX as a member of the Seahawks -- wrote on Twitter, "Congrats Tom. Salute to the Greatest."

Brady's retirement was a surprise to some ... although he announced he was retiring on the same date last year. This time, it appears the G.O.A.T. is hanging up his cleats for good.

TMZ INVESTIGATES

If this is the final chapter of Brady's NFL career, Tom retires with 7 Super Bowl rings, 5 Super Bowl MVPs, and a football resume that undoubtedly guarantees his Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Tom Brady Not In Fox Sports' Super Bowl Plans ... Didn't Know About Retirement Decision

Tom Brady won't be jumping headfirst into his broadcasting gig with FOX Sports -- the newly retired NFL legend is not part of the network's plans for Super Bowl coverage next weekend ... TMZ Sports has learned.

The 7-time champion shocked the sports world when he shared his retirement plans on Wednesday ... saying he's leaving the game "for good" in an emotional social media post.

Our Brady sources tell us the announcement was equally surprising to FOX Sports ... who had no idea Brady was going to call it a career this morning.

DONE FOR GOOD

As we previously reported, Brady inked a massive 10-year, $375 million deal to join FOX as an analyst upon his retirement ... whenever that day came.

TMZ INVESTIGATES

Now that Brady's post-football career seems to be here, he will eventually throw on the headset for the network in some capacity ... just not in time for the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles game in Arizona on Feb. 12 on FOX.

That being said, Kevin Burkhardt and ex-Panthers TE, Greg Olsen  -- a budding star behind the mic -- will be in the booth as originally planned ... and FOX will welcome Brady with open arms whenever he decides to kick-start his TV career.

Serena Williams I'm Not Coming Back To Tennis ... 'I Would Say No, For Now'

Serena Williams is slamming the door on a potential return to tennis ... saying there's no chance she's going to un-retire to continue her career -- at least, for now.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner -- who last played in September 2022 -- discussed her future plans in an interview with Gayle King for "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday ... when she was asked if there was any hope for a comeback.

"It's hard to say," the 41-year-old replied to King. "I would say no. For now, no."

Williams explained, "I've literally given my whole life to tennis, and it's time for me to give my life to something else."

Fans aren't the only ones hoping to see her back on the tennis court ... Serena says her father, Richard Williams, has been trying to convince her to compete again as well -- but his attempts have been unsuccessful.

"He's like, 'Serena you should play two more Grand Slams,'" Williams said. "I'm like, 'Dad, stop.'"

Williams says her main focus now is spending time with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and their daughter, Olympia, who wants to be a big sister.

"Now, she prays for a sibling," Williams laughed. "I'm working on it."

Ohanian, who also participated in the interview, says everything is great with their marriage ... saying, "I knew I had met someone that I was never going to outgrow."

"She's a ride or die! 1,000%"

She's also investing her time into Serena Ventures, an equity firm she launched in 2014 that helps fund founders with diverse backgrounds, and her South Florida farm ... where she and Ohanian grow fruits, vegetables and raise animals.

TMZ INVESTIGATES

Despite all the off-court ventures, Serena's comments will still give fans hope she can come back some day.

Eagles' Josh Sills Indicted On Rape, Kidnapping Charges ... Days Before Super Bowl

UPDATE

10:28 AM PT -- The Eagles just released a statement on the charges ... saying, "The organization is aware of the legal matter involving Josh Sills. We have been in communication with the league office and are in the process of gathering more information. We have no further comment at this time."

Eagles offensive lineman Josh Sills has been indicted on rape and kidnapping charges ... just 11 days before Philadelphia is slated to play the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.

According to prosecutors in Ohio, the charges stem from an incident that happened in Guernsey County back on Dec. 5, 2019.

Officials allege that Sills -- a rookie reserve lineman for the Eagles who made the team this year as an undrafted free agent -- "engaged in sexual activity that was not consensual and held a victim against her will."

Prosecutors say the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation into the case -- and a grand jury eventually indicted Sills on one felony count of rape and one felony count of kidnapping this week.

The 25-year-old is slated to appear in court on the matter on Feb. 16 -- just four days after the Super Bowl.

Sills -- who played high school football in Ohio -- attended both West Virginia and Oklahoma State during his college career. He played just a handful of snaps for the Eagles this season, appearing in just one game against the Cardinals on Oct. 9.

TMZ INVESTIGATES

The Eagles have yet to publicly comment on the charges. They're scheduled to play against Kansas City on Feb. 12 in Arizona.

Originally Published -- 7:38 AM PT

Tom Brady I'm Retiring ... Gisele Sends Best Wishes

DONE FOR GOOD
UPDATE

8:39 AM PT -- Tom Brady's ex-wife, Gisele Bündchen, reacted to the quarterback's announcement ... saying, "Wishing you only wonderful things in this new chapter of your life."

Tom Brady's run in the NFL has officially come to an end ... the quarterback revealed Wednesday morning he's retiring -- and this time, it's "for good."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers star made the announcement in a short video that he posted to his social media page.

In the clip, Brady fought back tears -- while insisting there's no chance he comes back to the gridiron again.

"I know the process was a pretty big deal last time," Brady said, "so when I woke up this morning I figured I'd just press record and let you guys know first."

Tom went on to thank his family, friends, teammates, opponents and fans -- adding that he "wouldn't change a thing."

"Love you all," he concluded.

Brady's made this announcement once before -- back on Feb. 1 of last year, he told the football world he was done. Of course, that retirement lasted just a few weeks, as he unretired just 40 days later.

Tom's contract with the Bucs had run out this offseason -- but many had speculated the 45-year-old could return in 2023, perhaps with the Super Bowl contender San Francisco 49ers.

But, Brady -- who played 23 seasons in the NFL -- made it clear in his vid Wednesday, he ain't coming back.

RED CARPET ROYALTY
BACKGRID

Tom appeared at peace with this decision at the "80 For Brady" premiere on Tuesday in Los Angeles, sporting a big smile while rubbin' elbows with his costars and other Hollywood celebs.

Brady will go down as arguably the greatest football player ever -- his resume is unmatched ... he won seven Super Bowls, earned three MVP awards, and was selected to 15 Pro Bowls. He was also named an All-Pro three times ... and threw for 89,214 yards and 649 TDs -- both NFL records.

In his final season in the league, Brady led the Bucs to the playoffs -- but bowed out early, losing to the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round.

He's now expected to hit the broadcast booth after signing a mega deal to work with Fox as a color commentator.

Originally Published -- 5:27 AM PT

Pete Davidson, Emma Stone Celebs Pour Into MSG ... Gotta Watch LeBron!!!

LeBron James made his return to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night -- and in turn, so did a ton of celebs ... and the king didn't disappoint in NYC as a bunch of Hollywood's A-listers cheered him on.

LBJ went off in the game against the Knicks -- logging 28 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists  ... as the Lakers knocked off the home team in overtime, 129-123.

Emma Stone, Michael B. Jordan, Jon Stewart and Pete Davidson -- sporting a new haircut! -- seemed to love it all ... rockin' big smiles on their faces as the L.A. superstar did his thing.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, former NHL star Henrik Lundqvist and comedian, Hasan Minhaj were also in attendance.

Of course, Spike Lee -- as usual -- was in the building ... though he wasn't in good spirits as his favorite team got dumped on by L.A.

All the celebs sat near each other in courtside seats ... with most appearing to have a hell of a time while rubbing elbows with one another.

It should be noted there was no date spotted on Davidson's arm ... but he seemed to be content riding solo and hanging with Stewart for the big hoops night, nonetheless.

Celebrities won't get another chance to watch LeBron hoop at the Mecca again until 2023 -- this was the Lakers' lone appearance at MSG this season.

TMZ INVESTIGATES

But, hey, if those that weren't in the arena were really feeling the FOMO on Tuesday night ... something tells us they'll be able to afford to go watch him play in L.A. later this year.

Tyre Nichols Celebs Donating To Memorial Fund

Some of Hollywood's biggest names, plus a skateboarding legend, are pitching in to help Tyre Nichols' mother and stepdad ... with big donations to his memorial fund.

TMZ combed through more than 33,000 donations to Tyre's official GoFundMe and found a ton of celebs who donated money.

"Love Song" singer Sara Bareilles, pro skateboarder Tony Hawk and comedian Lil Rel Howery each pledged $1,000 ... as did "Shea Butter Baby" singer Ari Lennox.

The fundraiser is being organized by Tyre's mom, RowVaughn Wells, who says her and her husband's lives have been turned upside down by Tyre's death, which came after he was brutally beaten by Memphis police.

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Lil Rel's been outspoken about the tragedy, saying Tyre was a peaceful person who should still be alive.

Tyre's mom says the donations will help cover the costs for her and her husband's mental health services, plus help them afford to take time off from their 9-5 jobs to focus on "seeking proper justice" for Tyre.

What's more, Tyre's mom says the family wants to build a memorial skate park for Tyre "in honor of his love for skating and sunsets."

Tony, the most famous skateboarder ever, appears all-in on building a skate park in Tyre's honor ... he reposted a video of Tyre skating, along with the caption, "Help Tyre's family (and honor him with a skatepark)."

Other donations pouring in from Hollywood include ... $2,300 from "Watchmen" screenwriter Damon Lindelof, $1,500 from "As Told By Ginger" writer Emily Kapnek and $5,000 from Madonna's manager, Guy Oseary.

The GoFundMe's raised $1,313,070 and counting.

NLE Choppa Starting ‘Skate 4 Tyre’ Org 🛹 To Ease Family's Trauma

SKATE FOR TYRE
TMZ.com

NLE Choppa isn’t letting the momentum wane following his peaceful protest in Memphis -- he's planning to launch a skate foundation to support Tyre Nichols' family ... especially his young son.

TMZ Hip Hop caught up with NLE, who tells us his head's been swirling since seeing the brutal body cam footage of Tyre being pummeled to death by several now-ex-Memphis cops.

The "Shotta Flow" rapper says he was a novice when he hopped on a skateboard for the January 28 protest march he organized in Memphis. Skateboarding was one of Tyre's passions, and NLE feels like Tyre's talking to him through his newfound love of the sport -- he says he hasn’t stopped riding, calling it the Lil Wayne effect.

NLE thinks everyone should adhere to “love” these days and thinks the MPD operated with the complete opposite -- not only the night Tyre was beaten, but with the timing of the body cam footage release.

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He fears Tyre's 4-year-old son will be traumatized when he grows up and sees the video -- just one of the reasons NLE wants to do all he can to help the family.

SAVAGE BEATING
Memphis Police Department

He's hopeful Tyre’s son will grow up to share his dad's love for skating ... and maybe even manifest it into a pro career.

Damar Hamlin Partners With American Heart Association ... To Promote CPR Training

Damar Hamlin is kickstarting a campaign to spread CPR awareness and training following his on-field medical scare earlier this month ... teaming up with the American Heart Association to create the "3 For Heart" challenge.

The Buffalo Bills safety announced the move in an Instagram video ... saying, "Once again, I want to thank everybody for their love and support over these past few weeks."

"As you know, CPR saved my life earlier this year on the field, and CPR could easily save your life or someone you love."

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To help the raise awareness for the procedure, Hamlin and the AHA came up with the social media campaign ... which includes three steps: learn hands-only CPR, donate to the AHA to fund CPR awareness and education, and challenge three people to do the same.

Hamlin started the movement by calling out Tom Brady, LeBron James and Michelle Obama to get involved.

As we previously reported, the medical staffers who immediately took action and performed CPR on Hamlin during Monday Night Football were credited with saving his life after suffering cardiac arrest on the field on Jan. 2.

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Hamlin has been on the road to recovery ever since ... and continues to improve by the day.

TMZ INVESTIGATES

The 24-year-old spoke on camera for the first time over the weekend ... thanking his fans and supporters for all the love directed his way in the weeks following the medical scare.

Amar'e Stoudemire Dom. Violence Charges Dropped

The charges against Amar'e Stoudemire stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident at his home in December have been dismissed ... after prosecutors say the victim did not cooperate with the investigation.

As we previously reported, STAT was accused of striking one of his teen daughters across the face at least twice.

But the 40-year-old adamantly denied the accusations ... saying he would never lay a finger on another human being.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office confirmed to CBS Miami on Tuesday, the charges related to the Dec. 2022 incident have been dropped "due to the failure of the victim to cooperate in the prosecution of the criminal case."

Stoudemire tells TMZ Sports ... "A little over a month ago, my family’s world was turned upside down as I faced allegations that we all knew to be untrue – which I instantly and publicly denied."

"Today, I’m grateful that after a full investigation, all charges were dismissed. Fortunately, my family and most importantly, my incredible children are all doing well. My faith in the goodness we all possess has never wavered and has never been greater. My love for my family is without limits."

He continued ... "I am appreciative of all the respect and support received from family, friends and colleagues. Now that this chapter is closed, I look forward to all the great moments ahead with my family."

TMZ INVESTIGATES

Amar'e's attorney, Alexander Fox, added ... "After a full investigation, the case was dropped at failing to prove the false accusations. The court’s vindication of Mr. Stoudemire underscores who he is and always has been – a person of faith and integrity dedicated to his family and community."

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