Newly drafted Charlotte Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston (198 cm, North Carolina’14) is not starting his NBA career on the right foot. The former Tar Heel and 26th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft is set to appear in court for misdemeanor charges of assault and battery during a pickup game of basketball.
Kentrell Barkley, a Northern Dunham High School senior, alleges that Hairston punched him twice during the game.
“We were playing open gym and I was running up the court and he hit me in the forehead with his fist,” said Northern Durham High rising senior Kentrell Barkley, who is being recruited by numerous mid-major college programs. “I walked up to him and asked him what happened and then he hit me again in the neck.”
Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow has a different angle on the events that transpired during the altercation:
The pickup game got heated, the kid swung at P.J. and P.J. swung back,” Morrow said. “P.J. did not go out and beat up a little kid like some people want to make it out to be.”
Hairston was issued a summons to appear in court on August 8.
Whether P.J. is found guilty or not, this kind of negative behavior and its accompanying publicity is not a good way for the rookie to endear himself to his newly joined organization. The Hornets are currently looking into the matter and have not yet given an official statement.