The ENQUIRER exclusively reported weeks ago that Star Jones was cozying up to NBA superstar Dwayne Wade.  Now Dwayne’s let his cougar out of the bag while shooting the proverbial breeze and dirt  on a sports show!

The Miami Heat hoopster was on Inside the NBA, with hosts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson when full-court pressed about the skinny on Star.

"Star is an unbelievable woman.   We have a great, great relationship — as friends," Wade said.

"Good friends?" Barkley shot back.

"Naaaaw, Chuck," Wade grinned, tongue-firmly-in cheek.

But Barkley wasn’t buying and drove past Wade for an in-your-face slam dunk, "I like Star – she’s a cougar."

Blinking, ever-so-innocently, Wade fouled, "What’s a cougar?"