Tyrann Mathieu Joe Burrow Won't Spurn Bengals ... In 2020 NFL Draft

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GRIDIRON GAB
TMZSports.com

Breathe easy, Bengals fans ... Tyrann Mathieu says Joe Burrow will NOT spurn Cincy at the 2020 NFL Draft, and will happily play for the team if it picks him No. 1 overall in April!!

"Me just knowing him for the last couple years," the Honey Badger tells TMZ Sports, "He's super competitive ... he knows he can be the guy."

There are A LOT of rumors surrounding Burrow and the Bengals ... with some indicating the Heisman Trophy winner might refuse to play in Cincy if it picks him at the top of the draft.

In fact, ex-Bengals star Carson Palmer seemed to advise Joe to do exactly that in an interview with CBS Sports last month ... saying he doesn't believe Bengals ownership truly wants to win a Super Bowl.

Of course, the move wouldn't be unprecedented ... Eli Manning famously balked when the San Diego Chargers picked him in 2004 -- leading to an eventual trade to the NY Giants.

But, when we got Tyrann -- a former LSU superstar who's become bros with Burrow the past couple years -- at Mr. Chow in L.A. this week ... he told us don't bet on Joe pulling the same trick.

"I think he'll have a great opportunity to kind of help, hopefully, Cincinnati change things around as a franchise," Mathieu says.

There's more ... the Chiefs superstar also spoke with us about who his favorite non-Patrick Mahomes QB is -- and his answer might surprise you.

And, Mathieu even talked about LSU's stacked secondary ... and which Tigers prospect he thinks will be the next big NFL star.

Van Jones Dwyane's Brave for Supporting Zaya ... Other Parents Will Follow

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LEADING BY EXAMPLE
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Van Jones says Dwyane Wade is setting a good example for other parents when it comes to his kid, Zaya ...  and he's sure more and more families will follow suit.

We got the CNN host out in Chicago this weekend and asked him to weigh-in on Dwyane revealing this child wanted to identify as a female, and change her name from Zion to Zaya. Check it out ... Van says it was a brave thing to do, and it'll have a ripple effect.

He basically explains that someone of D-Wade's stature coming out in support gives other parents a permission structure to do the same with their own kids who might be in a similar situation. So, in other words, Van thinks Dwyane's actions will carry over beyond right now.

And by that, he means less suicides, less self-hatred ... and a lot more love and acceptance.

MEET ZAYA

Nobody seems to have been as well-spoken about the subject than Zaya herself, who said she wants to be a role model to others. Dwyane captured the pep talk, and it's clear ... she's a smart cookie.

President Trump Attends Daytona 500 ... Lemme Get In One of These Things!!!

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WHEN'S MY TURN?
FOX

President Trump is pretty stoked to be at the Daytona 500 --  so much so, in fact, he might even get behind the wheel himself and zoom off into the night. Settle down, Donnie.

45's down in Florida right now taking in the annual NASCAR race with the First Lady, Melania, and while talking to a FOX Sports reporter, he made it clear he wants to drive again. It's funny and actually kinda interesting ... DT can't really do that anymore, huh?

In a somewhat rambling response, Trump calls Daytona "the great American race," going on to say he stopped by because he sees it as "almost a patriotism kind of thing." Well said!

Trump also gave a shout-out to the drivers, saying it takes great courage to drive in such a beast of a vehicle. Sounds like he wants to take one for a spin, actually -- joking he might hop in one himself and "get in this race." He won't, obviously, but imagine if he did 😅.

Another humorous moment during POTUS's Daytona day out -- he made sure to point out where exactly God is to the people listening to his opening remarks to kick off the event.

He's up in the sky, apparently. Thanks for the reminder, Mr. President.

NBA All-Star Weekend 3,000 Strippers Descend On Chicago ... Offset, Kid Capri Hosting

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The strip club cavalry has arrived in Chicago with THOUSANDS of dancers, literally, making sure NBA superstars and fans are well entertained during All-Star Weekend!!!

The good folks at Ocean Gentleman's Club, Factory and Club O tell TMZ Sports ... they've hired Last Coast Entertainment to promote events at all the clubs this weekend. We're told that means 3,000 strippers will be swarming around poles all over Chi-town.

STRIPPER STACKS
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The forecast calls for some serious rain, because we're told each club will have $450,000 in single dollar bills on deck each day for customers -- NBA and otherwise -- to spend on the dancers. The clubs are ready to bring in the Brinks trucks too, if they need even more Washingtons.

As for who's leading all this fun ... Offset will be front and center hosting an epic after-party Sunday at Ocean Gentleman's Club, following the All-Star Game. Also, Kid Capri's hosed that club's Saturday night bash.

The clubs also tell us they already have 10 tables reserved each night, exclusively for NBA ballers -- and their kitchens will be working OT to serve up lamb chops, burgers, wings and shrimp. BIG dudes have BIG appetites!

BTW, NBA All-Star Weekend is like an annual Super Bowl for the strippers ... so there's high-demand to get work in the host cities each year. We're told the dancers have to fork over $300 to $350 per night to a club just to get their high heels in the door.

Other gentlemen's clubs around Chicago -- like Scores and Rick's Cabaret -- are adopting NBA themes. Dancers will wear basketball uniforms, to start anyway, and of course, there will be VIP sections just for NBA studs.

And, get this ... one club tells us they're flying in girls from New York, Los Angeles and Miami to diversify their lineup. Now that's thoughtful!!

Rick Fox Gets Emotional Talking About Kobe

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I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT
TMZSports.com

Rick Fox, like so many others, is having a hard time processing the loss of Kobe Bryant.

We got Rick at the NBA Crossover event in Chicago Saturday during NBA All-Star Weekend, and he's clearly still hurting. You'll recall his emotional words on TNT a week ago.

Rick makes it clear ... Kobe's death is a blow to so many in a very personal way, but there's also a global factor -- Kobe was a worldwide celebrity and on the precipice of starting a second chapter that could have been as awesome as his first.

Rick shared some memories of Kobe ... riding on the team bus with him as Kobe talked about his "otherworldly plans."

When our photog asks Rick what Kobe would have done over the next 20 or 30 years, you see him get visibly emotional.

Rick played for the Lakers between 1997 and 2004 and won 3 championships with the team. Kobe played from 1996 to 2016. The 2 were teammates for 8 years.

Rick's now big into e-sports and owned the Echo Fox franchise until last October.

Becky Lynch Warns Khabib ... Conor Will Dominate Rematch!!

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GIVE HIM A SHOT
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Conor McGregor WILL get a victory in a rematch with Khabib ... so says Becky Lynch, who tells TMZ Sports she believes Conor's got a whole new strategy for The Eagle!!

"I think he's been working," the WWE superstar says. "You saw it in the last fight. He's got a new game plan, his head is firmly in it and I think he wins it."

Becky admits she is biased -- she's from Ireland, after all -- and tells us, "Of course I'm going to say me countryman!"

But, The Man clearly believes Conor's got a real shot regardless.

"I think he's got that dedication," Becky says. "He backs it up, man. He backs it up."

The last time Conor and Khabib squared off in the Octagon ... things didn't go so well for the Notorious, who lost after he tapped out in the 4th round.

And, it remains to be seen if Khabib will even get in the cage a second time with Conor ... he just said earlier this month he wouldn't fight McGregor again for $100 MILLION!!!

But, let's be real ... that's a lot of cash, and now that Becky tells us Conor's got a chance -- LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

Lou Williams Wall-to-Wall Mural of Kobe And Gigi ... In His Atlanta Home!!!

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MAMBAS IN THE MAN-CAVE
@inkbykali / @iamtayhill

Lou Williams decided to honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, by getting a HUGE mural in his man cave at his Atlanta home this week .. and it's pretty amazing!

TMZ Sports has learned the Los Angeles Clippers guard hit up his good friend and tattoo artist Fennell "InkByKali" Cunningham for the Mamba and Mambacita mural.

We're told because Lou and Kobe were real close, InkByKali had to make sure the mural was perfect ... so he hit up another artist, Tay Hill, to help out.

You can see in a video of the mural, obtained by TMZ Sports, the art is a HUGE painting of Kobe in his Lakers gear with Gianna in her Mamba Academy jersey. All told, we've learned the piece took 13 HOURS to paint!

"Definitely honored to have been a part of doing this mural," InkByKali tells us.

After Kobe tragically died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, Lou went on Twitter the next day and expressed how much pain he was in, saying, "Been crying on and off."

"Have random thoughts about things we spoke about then laugh. Cry again."

Lou even put out a song dedicated to the Mamba called "24" this week ... writing a caption along with the track that read, "Wrote a open letter to the homie."

Of course, Lou ain't the only NBA baller honoring the Mamba ... stars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis have gotten tribute tats -- while others in the league have been hoopin' with messages to Kobe on their sneakers.

Bellator's Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Chokes Out TMZ Staffer ... With Her Legs!!

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TAPPED-OUT
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Wanna see one of the baddest females in the world nearly choke the life outta a TMZ employee?!?

We thought so.

29-year-old Bellator champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane came through the TMZ office ... and naturally our in-house crash test dummy, Lucas Widman got a one-on-one demo of her triangle choke.

Lucas -- who's faced MMA stars like Jon Jones, Paige VanZant and Brian Ortega -- tapped QUICK ... like Chris Johnson's 40-time quick.

No shocker there ... Macfarlane is a killer in the cage -- the 29-year-old is an undefeated 11-0.

FUTURE IS BRIGHT
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The crazy part ... Ilima-Lei sat down with Michael J. Babcock and told him she only got into MMA a few years ago, so she could drop weight she put on during college.

Little did she know she'd turn into one of the best damn fighters in the game.

Liziane Gutierrez Ball So Hard ... For All-Star Weekend!!!

Bikini model Liziane Gutierrez is getting out of her bubble -- ditching the glamorous life for the bump-and-grind of basketball, and she has King James on the brain ... and her cheeks.

The Brazilian poser and a gal pal had no problem choosing sides for the NBA All-Star Game, which is going down this weekend in Chicago. Liziane took on her friend in a game of hoops -- in MUCH-shorter shorts than the pros -- and just to keep it real, they made their allegiances known.

Liziane took an L on her butt for team LeBron James, while her friend's a straight G ... for Team Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those are the actual teams competing in Chi-town.

Anyway, check out the pics of their game -- it was truly a thong o' beauty. No word on who won. Luckily, we know you don't really care.

NBA Commish Adam Silver All-Star MVP Award ... Is Now Named After Late Kobe Bryant

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver is making sure Kobe Bryant goes down in history with the league right away -- renaming the All-Star MVP award after the late Laker legend.

The commish made the announcement Saturday at a press conference in front of the press, first discussing how Kobe and ex-commissioner David Stern -- who himself passed away this year -- were so much alike in their attitudes, goals and approaches to the game.

Adam says both Kobe and Stern prioritized winning -- and, often, neither of them had time for the niceties that come with fostering relationships because they were so hyper-focused.

He went on to list some of Kobe's personal achievements in the NBA -- including setting the record for 18 consecutive All-Star appearances, 4 All-Star MVP Awards and his famous Slam Dunk Contest appearance in 1997 ... for which he took home the 1st place prize.

Then came the big news ... the NBA is changing the name of All-Star MVP Award, now calling it the Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Adam says he's sure whoever wins it on Sunday after the All-Star game will be thrilled. He also noted it was just one of the ways the league would be honoring Kobe going forward -- David will also be honored in the future.

Besides the big name change, AS also said one small way the league wanted to remember Kobe and David was putting their photos on the back of media credentials this year.

Of course, Kobe's passing is still fresh and raw for so many around the league. He died last month in a helicopter crash with his daughter, Gianna, and other families as well.

Barack Obama Kind Words to Remember Kobe ... At NBA All-Star Brunch

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Barack Obama says the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter hit extra-close to home because he himself, as a father, has been a champion of his own kids in and out of sports.

44 spoke Saturday at a brunch hosted by the NBA for All-Star weekend, and while talking to a room full of journalists ... BO said he knew Kobe's death was still fresh on the minds of several people in the NBA family -- and rightly so, as he too seemed stunned by it.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

In a video posted by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Barack says ... "That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with -- particularly, Kobe because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And, those of us who have had the joy and privilege of being parents, and taking our kids to ball games, and rooting for our children and then seeing our dreams and hopes passed on to them ... nothing is more heartbreaking."

He goes on to offer his and Michelle's condolences to the NBA family, not just over Kobe but also for former NBA commissioner David Stern -- who died of a stroke earlier this year.

At the time of Kobe's death, Obama remembered him with kind words too ... writing, "Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."

Kobe was 41. His daughter, Gianna, was just 13.

RIP

Boxer Ryan Garcia Prayed for Fonseca Before KO'ing Him ... Please God, Wake Him Up!!!

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THE BEST IS YET TO COME
TMZSports.com

Ryan Garcia says he knew he was going to knock out his opponent on Friday night -- which he did, BTW -- so he sent a little prayer up to the man upstairs on behalf of the guy.

We talked to the lightweight boxing sensation Friday at an after-party following his vicious one-punch, first-round knock out of Francisco Fonseca -- and Ryan tells us point blank ... he knew it would happen, and actually asked God to wake the dude up sooner than later.

ICYMI, it was a spectacular hit, and now Ryan's the talk of the town in boxing. People are calling him a phenom, and also the new poster boy of the sport. You can see why.

Word around the ring is ... Floyd Mayweather's protege, Gervonta 'Tank' Davis, took about 8 rounds or so put down Fonseca not too long ago -- and Ryan did it in a matter of seconds.

Obviously, the chatter about a potential matchup here is in full swing -- but Ryan doesn't wanna rush things, and actually wants to prove himself first with other opponents. Check it out ... he gives a list of names of guys he'd like to see first before Tank.

Spoiler ... sounds like he's confident he can take all of them down, and has a message for Floyd too.

WINNER'S MENTALITY
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BTW, Ryan had a subtle tribute to the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, on his trunks during the Valentine's Day bout -- and he broke it down for us here too.

Turns out, the dude's a big fan of Mamba ... and wanted to make sure he represented his winning mentality as early and often as he possibly could. He certainly did that!

J.J. Watt and Fiancee Kealia Ohai We're Hitched!!!

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TMZ.com

5:48 PM PT -- Looks like J.J. Watt has officially tied the knot. Again ... congrats!

J.J. Watt is preparing to be a married man today!!!

J.J. and fiancee Kealia Ohai are getting hitched Saturday at a fancy hotel in the Bahamas, and lots of family and friends are on hand for the nuptials.

The couple was hanging at the hotel all week with their broods, hanging by the pool and celebrating during meals.

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A big tent was erected Friday for the ceremony ... it's pretty extravagant -- a tent with chandeliers.

As TMZ Sports reported, J.J. and Kealia took out a marriage license this week in Harris County, Texas. They have exactly 90 days to seal the deal, but we're told that all goes down this evening.

J.J. and Kealia got engaged 9 months ago. They started dating 2 years ago.  BTW, Kealia is a soccer star who plays for the Chicago Red Stars.

Congrats!!!

Originally Published -- 7:31 AM PT

Jonah Hill Kills It Shredding the Gnar!!!

Jonah Hill has mad skills in the water, which is incredible ... considering it was a great fear of his until just last year.

Jonah hit the sand with his surfboard just before 10 AM Friday near the famous Gladstones restaurant in Malibu.

Pretty impressive ... considering the waves there can be pretty intense.

He joined around 20 people who were catching waves as they enjoyed the sunny SoCal weather. Sorry Chicago, sorry New York, sorry New Hampshire, sorry Vermont, sorry South Dakota ... and especially sorry North Dakota.

After surfing for an hour, Jonah mugged with some of his fellow surfers before braving Pacific Coast Highway for the ride home.

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Back in August, when Jonah started surfing, he said, "Been terrified to surf my whole life. Totally random fear and at the same time always been a secret dream of mine."

Fear conquered.

Antonio Brown I'll Meet With NFL Teams At Combine ... 'I'm Excited'

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YOU GOTTA PAY UP!
TMZSports.com

Antonio Brown says he'll get in front of NFL teams later this month to try to explain his troubling actions ... telling TMZ Sports, he'll be at the combine in Indianapolis.

"I'm excited and looking forward to seeing them guys," AB says. "I'mma be out there ready to get things back on the right page."

Of course, Brown -- who was visiting the Luc Belaire offices in NYC -- has quite a bit of explaining to do. The former All-Pro receiver has argued with his baby mama on video, in an intense police standoff twice in the past few months ... and he's been arrested for allegedly assaulting a moving driver.

1/13/20
AB GOES OFF ON COPS

Brown is also still dealing with allegations that he raped his former trainer, as well as, claims he sent threatening text messages to a different woman back in September.

But, Brown has been on an apology spree lately ... claiming he's trying to right all of his past wrongs. And, it seems he's hopeful he can deliver that message to NFL owners in Indy in two weeks.

As for the NFL's current investigation into ALL the allegations against Brown ... league commish Roger Goodell said just a few weeks ago the probe is still ongoing.

J.J. Watt & Kealia Ohai Wedding Bells Ringing Soon??? ... Applied for Marriage License

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J.J. Watt and his fiancee, Kealia Ohai, are planning to say their "I Dos" soon ... like, possibly this weekend soon.

The Houston Texans star and the Chicago Red Stars soccer star applied for their marriage license this week in Harris County, Texas ... which means they have 90 days from the date they filed for the license to tie the knot.

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What's interesting ... Watt's been posting on his social media the past few days from an undisclosed tropical-looking location. You know, the type of spot perfect for a wedding ... especially right around Valentine's Day.

If they do end up getting hitched this weekend, it will be almost 9 months after they got engaged -- J.J. popped the question back in May 2019.

Of course, this came more than 2 years after the couple became Instagram official in early 2017.

Like we said, they still have 90 days before they have to do the whole wedding ceremony thing to make their marriage official, so whether it happens in the next couple days or not ... congrats!!!