NFL Star Henry Ruggs Loses Perfect Bowling Game On Final Roll ... 'I Am Sick'

RUGGS GETS ROBBED

Did you know NFL star Henry Ruggs is a ridiculously good football player AND bowler?!

It's true ... 'cause the Raiders wide receiver nearly rolled a PERFECT GAME this week -- missing the 300 figure by just one pin on his last frame!!!

The incredible feat all went down Wednesday in Las Vegas ... when Ruggs was bowling with some friends at a local alley in Sin City.

Ruggs had hit 10 straight strikes ... and needed just two more good rolls to give him the unblemished evening.

You can see in footage of Ruggs' final balls, though ... after hitting the first strike no problem -- he left just one pin standing on his final throw!!!

Henry was both elated and defeated ... 'cause, ya know, a 299 is an insane score -- but missing the 300 mark CLEARLY hurt.

In fact, after the game, Ruggs took to social media to say, "I am sick" about not knocking down the final pin.

Don't worry, Henry's only 22 years old, so he's got plenty of visits to the alley left in him.

Good luck next time!!

Devin Booker Sending WCF Tix, Autographed Jersey ... To 'Suns In 4' Fan

10:24 AM PT -- 6/17 -- Devin Booker is hitting the "Suns In 4" guy with the ULTIMATE hookup -- sending the dude an autographed jersey and tickets to the upcoming Western Conference Finals!!

Of course, multiple eyewitnesses say McKellar was purely acting in self-defense, so it's not like the baller is rewarding the fan for wildin' out.

Booker posted on social media earlier this week asking to get in touch with the guy ... and it didn't take long at all for him to connect and give McKellar an awesome "thank you" package, according to ESPN.

So cool!!!

The famous "Suns In 4" guy is FINALLY opening up about his violent brawl with Nuggets fans ... claiming the whole thing went down because the Denver dudes poured beer on him.

Nick McKellar joined Barstool Sports' "The Dave Portnoy Show" this week and broke the whole fight down from start to finish ... explaining he was NEVER the aggressor in the situation.

McKellar claims he showed up to Ball Arena for Game 3 last Friday and made friends with nearly everybody around him right away.

But, he says when he started lightheartedly joking with two Nuggets fans toward the end of the game ... that's when things turned contentious.

"These guys are walking past me and obviously they didn't think it was funny," McKellar said. "Meanwhile the whole crowd that I made friends with, initially they were laughing, having a good time."

"I wasn't being annoying. So, these guys were like, 'You know what, I'm taking offense to this.'"

McKellar says the two Nuggets fans then got in his face, talked smack, flaunted money at him ... and then tugged on his jersey and poured beer on him.

That's when McKellar says the action picked up on video ... and the rest is history.

"Instincts of self-defense kick in," McKellar says.

McKellar told Portnoy he was escorted out of the arena by cops after throwing the haymakers, but says he was NOT arrested because witnesses told the officers he did nothing more than protect himself in the skirmish.

As for if Devin Booker ever got a hold of him, McKellar said he has been in contact with the Suns superstar -- and told Portnoy there could be a future collab between the two in the future.

Originally Published -- 6/16 8:04 AM PT

Cody Simpson Finishes Last In Olympic Trials Gunning For 2024 Games!!!

Cody Simpson is staying positive after finishing last at the Australian Olympic swimming trials on Thursday ... saying he's proud of his progress and looking forward to training for the 2024 games!!

The 24-year-old pop singer -- who was a standout swimmer as a kid before focusing on his music career -- has been working out like crazy in hopes of making it to the trials finals in 2021 ... and he did just that!!

Simpson competed in the 100-meter butterfly final on Thursday ... and while he came in last, he's considering it his big win on the year.

"What an experience racing at my first Australian Olympic Trials," Simpson said Thursday. "To make a final was our goal this year and with less than a year of training we did just that."

"I’ve come so much further than I expected to this year and to be racing the best in the country already is a privilege."

FYI -- Simpson finished with a time of 52.94 ... while Matthew Temple came in first at 50.45, an Australian record.

Simpson knew making it to Tokyo was going to be a long shot this year .. but it's clear he wants to go to Paris in 2024.

"I’m so psyched to get back to training. See you in 3 years."

Denmark Soccer's Christian Eriksen Getting 'Heart Starter' Implant ... After Terrifying Collapse

Danish soccer star Christian Eriksen is getting a "heart starter" implanted to his chest soon ... a big step toward ensuring he never suffers another terrifying cardiac episode again.

Denmark national team doctor Morten Boesen made the announcement Thursday ... saying after multiple exams on the athlete, specialists have determined the 29-year-old needs an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

"This device is necessary after a cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances," Boesen said.

"Christian has accepted the solution and the plan has moreover been confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment."

As we previously reported, Eriksen went into cardiac arrest during last Saturday's Denmark vs. Finland game in Copenhagen ... and the scene was horrifying.

Eriksen collapsed on the pitch and needed a defibrillator to be revived ... and he's been in the hospital ever since.

Eriksen, though, has been in good spirits while recovering -- the soccer player posted an update from his hospital bed earlier this week saying, "I'm fine -- under the circumstances."

It's unclear if Eriksen will be able to play soccer again ... but he did make it clear he'll certainly be cheering on the Denmark team as it takes on Belgium on Thursday.

NBA's Meyers Leonard Gets Emotional In Speech to Jewish Kids ... 'I'm Deeply Sorry'

MEYERS MAKES PROGRESS

Powerful moment from NBA player Meyers Leonard ... who choked backed tears while addressing a group of Jewish kids at a temple in Florida, as he explained his regret for using an anti-Semitic slur back in March.

The 29-year-old took the mic at Boca Raton Synagogue over the weekend ... and began by saying, "I owe everybody, truly, a sincere apology."

As we previously reported, the former Miami Heat player was playing "Call of Duty" on March 9 when he hurled the K-word at an opposing player. The session was being live-streamed on Twitch at the time.

Twitch immediately blocked Leonard from the platform -- and the NBA hit Meyers with a $50k fine and a 1-week suspension.

Leonard apologized and vowed to educate himself about why the slur is dangerous and offensive ... and it's pretty obvious he's been putting in the work.

At least, according to Rabbi Efrem Goldberg ... who spoke glowingly about Meyers at Sunday's event -- praising him as a good dude and a "great friend of the Jewish community."

Rabbi Goldberg told the crowd, "Over the last 3 months, I’ve gotten to know Meyers off camera and off the court … I've gotten to know what's in his heart and who he is."

"Meyers has learned a lot about the Jewish community ... meeting with Holocaust survivors and reading books about Jewish history."

Leonard also opened up about life after the incident -- saying, "I've had a lot of really good moments and some pretty dark emotional moments but I just like to say, again, I'm so, so thankful for the people in the Jewish community whether it's a little kid, a teenager, a high schooler or a rabbi."

"I've just been very educated, I've had so many events away from the public eye that have just uplifted not only myself, my wife and our immediate family but my friends. I just learned so much and I'm so thankful through a very dark moment. Sometimes people say God works in mysterious ways."

Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes We're On The Cover Of Madden Again Flirting With The Curse???

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are out to prove the Madden Curse is officially dead ... with the Super Bowl LV foes set to appear on the video game's cover yet again!!

Remember, EA Sports' biggest franchise was notorious for the bad luck each cover athlete would have after receiving the honor -- from Mike Vick to Marshall Faulk to Vince Young, Peyton Hillis and more.

Both TB12 and Mahomes were able to dodge any serious mishaps when they both appeared on the cover in the past ... as Brady was on Madden NFL 18 and the Chiefs QB was on Madden NFL 20.

Now, the superstar athletes are set to stare the curse right in the eyes yet again ... and if they have baller years, it may be time to put the "Madden Curse" to rest for good.

The game had been teasing "2 goats" would appear on the cover ... and anyone who's been watching football the past few years had to see this one coming.

Sorry, Aaron Rodgers.

MLB's Ross Stripling Sorry For Meltdown Over Teammate's Error ... 'I'm Mortified'

Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling says he's sorry for throwing a temper tantrum after his teammate's error ... calling his actions both embarrassing and mortifying.

The Toronto starter went crazy after Joe Panik botched a throw to first base in the Jays' loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night ... screaming at his third baseman and throwing his hands in the air.

Stripling could be heard telling Panik to essentially play better ... and the on-field explosion was so off-putting, even Yankees broadcasters called Stripling out for it live on-air.

But, it didn't take long for Ross to realize he really screwed up ... 'cause he issued an apology to Panik after the game, calling the scene "the most disrespectful thing I've ever done."

"I'm completely embarrassed about it," the 31-year-old said. "I simply let the moment get too big for me."

Stripling said he not only spoke to Panik about it all, but addressed the situation with his entire team as well.

"I mean, I literally can't explain it," Stripling said. "Honestly, I'm mortified by it, I can't stand that's the way that went."

Ross continued, "It'll never happen again from me, I promise you that."

Ross added that Panik had accepted the mea culpa and told him "no hard feelings."

Panik's error, by the way, had no impact on the outcome of the game ... Stripling got out of the inning a few pitches later -- but he went on to give up the game-losing home run the following inning.

Gerrit Cole Begs MLB To Ease Foreign Substance Crackdown ... 'Please Just Work With Us'

TALK TO US
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"Please, just talk to us. Please, just work with us."

Gerrit Cole is BEGGING MLB officials to ease their latest stance on pitchers and foreign substances ... telling reporters Wednesday night he's VERY concerned a league crackdown on it all could lead to serious injuries.

The Yankees star kept it real in his meeting with the media after New York's huge win over Toronto ... saying the lack of sticky substances on his hand really hurt him during the game.

In fact, Cole said he struggled so much with gripping the baseball all night long ... he became not only concerned about his arm, but also batters in the box.

"I would just hate to see players get hurt," the 30-year-old said. "I would hate to see balls start flying at people's heads. I had a really tough time gripping the baseball tonight, especially early when it was windy."

Cole is now imploring MLB officials to back down from their threat to impose fines, ejections and even suspensions on pitchers who are caught putting foreign substances on their hands and baseballs.

"It's so hard to grip the ball," Cole said after the Yanks' 3-2 victory. "For Pete's sake, it's part of the reason why almost every player on the field has had something, regardless if they're a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball."

Of course, the comments echo Tyler Glasnow's concerns from earlier this week ... when the Tampa Bay Rays ace said he believed the league's crackdown ultimately caused a serious injury to his elbow.

"WITHOUT A DOUBT"
Tampa Bay Rays

For his part, despite grip issues and a dry hand, Cole still dominated a strong Blue Jays lineup ... throwing 8 innings and giving up just 4 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 4.

"I would encourage the commissioner's office to continue to talk with us, please, because we're the ones that throw the ball," Cole said.

"They don't. And, we're the experts in this situation."

Michael Jordan Signed 'Player Sample' AJ1's ... Sell For $204k!!!

6:21 AM PT -- 6/17 We have a winning bidder ... with the one-of-a-kind Js going to a new owner for a whopping $204,545, TMZ Sports has learned.

No word on who the lucky winner is ... but whoever it is must be happy with the final price!!

A true one-of-a-kind pair of Michael Jordan's Air Jordan 1's just hit the market and they're literally from before the start of all J's -- 'cause it's his sample sneakers!

Yes, a sample sneaker ... meaning these red, black and white kicks were specifically made for His Airness to test out before releasing 'em.

And, these samples are verified .. with the code "850204-TYPS" on the tongue which means these 1's were made between February and April in 1985 -- and TYPS is "Tong Yang Player Sample".

Another dope authentication check is the mismatched sizes .. 13 for the left foot and 13 1/2 for the right  -- 'cause MJ always wore a bigger size on his right foot!

Even though MJ never wore 'em, they were autographed by the then-rookie and it comes with the original NIKE shoebox.

The owner of the kicks got 'em back in the '80s -- when he was a director of communication for a gas and electric company and during his business meeting with a sports agent, he was asked 'what sports figure I admired'.

Jordan was one of them .. and then a few weeks later, he received the shoes in the mail!

The rare sneakers hit the market -- with RR Auctions -- 2 weeks ago with a current bid of $95,420 ... but are expected to sell for $250,000!!!

The auction comes to a close on June 16 ... so you still got some time to put in your bid!

Originally published -- 12:40 AM PT

Vontaze Burfict 'Secret Pizza' Arrest Video ... Shows NFL Star Sobbing Outside Of Casino

CRYIN' OUT

Vontaze Burfict bawled his eyes out outside of a Las Vegas casino after he was restrained by SEVEN people ... and the whole thing was captured on police video obtained by TMZ Sports.

The former Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders star was arrested at the Cosmopolitan back on Dec. 4, 2020 after he allegedly got into a physical altercation with security guards.

The story was wild ... cops say Burfict and a friend snapped on guards because they were allegedly "irate" while on the hunt for the "Secret Pizza" restaurant inside the famed Vegas hotel.

In the police video, you can see what happened next ... Burfict was pinned down to the ground by more than half a dozen people and eventually placed in handcuffs.

But, Burfict sounded so upset over the tightness of the cuffs ... he moaned in apparent pain and yelled, "I can't breathe!"

Eventually, the 30-year-old football player was taken outside to a squad car ... and the police footage shows he was still VERY emotional there, too.

Burfict could be seen sobbing, all while begging cops to loosen his cuffs.

Eventually, Burfict was taken to a nearby station where he posed for a mug shot ... and he was ultimately charged with one count of misdemeanor battery.

Burfict, though, cut a deal with prosecutors last week to close out the case ... court records show he agreed to keep his nose clean in exchange for the charge being dropped.

Court records also show a judge formally dismissed the case Wednesday morning.

Burfict -- an 8-year NFL vet who made 1 Pro Bowl in his career -- is still looking for a new NFL home after sitting out the 2020 season.

Priyanka Chopra & Megan Rapinoe Join Victoria's Secret's Roster But Hold the Lingerie!!!

9:03 AM PT -- Tyra Banks, who was groundbreaking in so many ways with the brand, just gave the announcement a massive thumbs-up, saying, "To the new collective of badass ROLE models, I may have cracked that door open, but y’all are charging through. Keep on keepin’ on until we all LOSE COUNT of how many are breaking through behind you."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Megan Rapinoe are going to rep Victoria's Secret but instead of flaunting their bods they'll be sharing their minds. Yup, times are changing.

The lingerie giant announced it's brought the actress and U.S. women's soccer legend on board as its newest spokeswomen. The company's rebranding to be more inclusive and appeal to a wider audience -- and it's hired the duo to spearhead the new VS mission: inspiring change and positivity.

The new marketing strategy doesn't call for Megan or Priyanka to put on Angel wings or skimpy lingerie outfits -- instead the duo will appear on a podcast and in other marketing materials.

Some of their guests, as the NY Post first reported, will include South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, freestyle skier Eileen Gu, Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, plus-size model Paloma Elsesser and journalist Amanda de Cadenet.

It's slated to be a 10-episode podcast.

The women form what Victoria's Secret is calling the VS Collective ... a platform attempting to build deeper relationships with women of all backgrounds.

Priyanka's no stranger to advocating for women's rights ... like speaking on behalf of UNICEF, an org she's worked with since 2006. She also has a namesake foundation that helps sick children around the globe.

Megan's championed women's rights since finding stardom on the pitch. She's advocated for equal pay and LGTBQ+ rights ever since she's had a platform. In fact, earlier this year she testified before Congress, pushing for equal pay.

VS's rebrand comes nearly 3 years after the company's chief marketing officer made a controversial comment to Vogue about transgender models. He's since left the company.

Originally published -- 4:57 PM PT

NBA Fact Checks LeBron 'Injury Rates Were Virtually The Same' This Season

4:36 PM PT -- The NBA is firing back at its most popular player -- with the league actually fact-checking LeBron's criticism Wednesday afternoon.

"Injury rates were virtually the same this season as they were during 2019-20 while starter-level and All-Star players missed games due to injury at similar rates as the last three seasons," the Association said, according to Marc Stein.

"While injuries are an unfortunate reality of our game, we recognize the enormous sacrifices NBA players and teams have made to play through this pandemic."

It's uncommon for the league to hit back at one of its biggest stars like this ... but clearly, they weren't here for the narrative.

LeBron James says the rash of injuries in this year's playoffs are all the NBA's fault ... claiming the bumps, bruises, tears and sprains are entirely due to the league's early start date.

Bron went off on the league in an epic Twitter rant Wednesday ... claiming he saw this coming from a million miles away once the NBA decided to start its 2021 season in December despite finishing the 2020 season in October.

"They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season," said LeBron, who did insist back before the season began that a December date was way too early to come back.

"I knew exactly what would happen. I only wanted to protect the well being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME!"

The NBA playoffs have been marred by injuries so far ... mega stars like Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, James Harden and Kyrie Irving have all missed time.

And, on Wednesday, it was announced Clippers star Kawhi Leonard could be done for the playoffs with a knee injury as well.

All of it has Bron fuming ... claiming it could have all been easily prevented.

"This is the best time of the year for our league and fans but missing a ton of our fav players. It’s insane," LeBron said.

"If there’s one person that know about the body and how it works all year round it’s ME! I speak for the health of all our players and I hate to see this many injuries this time of the year. Sorry fans wish you guys were seeing all your fav guys right now."

LeBron added, "And I know all about the business side too/factors so don’t even try me! I get it."

Originally Published -- 12:08 PM PT

Brooklyn Nets Halftime Singer Laughs Off Critics DMX Cover Won't Please Everyone!!!

WHAT AN HONOR
TMZSports.com

No matter what the haters say, the Brooklyn Nets' country singing halftime performer says he had a freakin' blast singing DMX and Notorious B.I.G. on Tuesday ... telling TMZ Sports he's unbothered by people pissed about his nod to the rap legends.

35-year-old singer Sam James went viral on social media after performing at the Nets vs. Bucks game ... with some folks giving their honest (and sometimes brutal) reviews of his setlist involving rap covers.

As it turns out, James says he grew up a HUGE fan of X ... and being able to perform his music in front of the massive crowd was a career moment for him.

"DMX's passing was so unexpected to me, and just to be able to do that last night at Barclays, it was special," James tells us."

He had the same feeling when covering "Juicy" by Biggie ... adding, "To be able to pay tribute last night to some of the greatest Brooklyn artists in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center in front of a crowd like that -- that was unreal."

James somehow had no idea his performance was spreading on the Internet ... but when we recited some of his not-so-nice reviews to him, the dude couldn't have been a better sport.

"I mean, listen, at the end of the day, you can't listen to what other people are saying about music," James said, laughing off the harsh comments. "Music is subjective. Everybody can have their own opinion."

"It's nothing off my back if people aren't into it."

In fact, James says the crowd around him was LOVIN' it ... so, he's more focused on what he experienced than what the trolls are saying.

"I was in the zone ... but everybody that was around me was pretty hyped. So, it felt great!"

James says he knows people are entitled to their opinion ... but he's down to try and change the haters' minds in the future.

"People that are into it, that's awesome. People that aren't, it's cool. Listen, I still got a little time to turn you around."

Greg Olsen's Son Rings Bell After Heart Transplant Recovery 'We're Finally Whole Again'

SUCCESSFUL TRANSPLANT
@gregolsen88 / Instagram

Awesome update from ex-NFL star Greg Olsen -- his son, TJ, just "rang the bell" to symbolize the end of treatment after receiving a heart transplant!!!

Olsen shared footage of the special moment at the hospital in Charlotte on Wednesday, saying, "Today we 'rang the bell,' and for the first time our family whole again."

"To everyone who prayed for our little buddy and sent us words of encouragement and support ... All we can say is THANK YOU and WE 💚 YOU ALL"

As we previously reported, TJ was born with a congenital heart disease that required 3 open-heart surgeries before his 3rd birthday.

Olsen revealed late last month TJ's heart was failing ... and doctors said he would need a transplant immediately.

TJ was quickly able to find a match and underwent surgery earlier this month ... and despite all the struggles, Greg says his son remained optimistic throughout the journey.

6/7/21
A MESSAGE FROM THE HEART

"TJ’s positive attitude and selflessness throughout has been an inspiration to us all," he added. "Never did he feel sorry for him self or play the victim. All he did was talk about what the future held and the things he looked forward to doing."

Olsen says TJ was adamant he was going to ring that bell ... and it's truly incredible to see him do it!!!

LaMelo Ball Wins NBA Rookie Of The Year ... As LaVar Predicted!!!

Call LaMelo Ball "ROY" from now on ... 'cause the Charlotte Hornets star has just been named the NBA's Rookie of the Year!!!

And ya know who predicted this way back in November?! None other than Melo's dad, LaVar ... who told TMZ Sports it was "GUARANTEED!!!" to happen.

NOVEMBER 2020
FAMILY UPDATE
TMZSports.com

Now, before we give him the title of "LaVarstradamus," it wasn't that bold of a prediction to begin with -- Melo was the #3 overall pick and the expectations were high from the very beginning.

19-year-old Ball managed to average nearly 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in 51 games as a rook ... and still held on to get the top honors despite missing a chunk of the season with a wrist injury.

There will almost certainly be some folks pissed with the results -- Minnesota Timberwolves #1 pick Anthony Edwards had a stellar rookie campaign, earning just over 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and nearly 3 assists per game.

The decision is made by a list of sportswriters and broadcasters who vote for the top 3 rookies of the season -- first place votes get 5 points, second gets 3 points and third gets 1.

Whoever gets the highest point total of votes wins the award ... no matter which player has the most first place votes.

The league has yet to make Melo's award official, but ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says it's a done deal.

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