DURHAM, N.C. — Charlotte Hornets rookie PJ Hairston is facing assault and battery charges after a high school basketball player in Durham claims the former UNC player punched him on Sunday at a Durham YMCA.
The 17-year-old told WTVD that Hairston punched him twice while they were playing a recreational game.
Kentrell Barkley claims he did not throw any punches.
On Monday, Hairston was charged with assault and battery, a Durham court official told WTVD. He will not be arrested, however he was issued a criminal summons.
Hairston released a statement Monday:
“I want to apologize to the Hornets organization and our fans for creating this distraction. As this is now a legal matter, I cannot comment on the situation any further. I am truly sorry for any embarrassment that I have caused.”
Hairston’s agent confirmed an incident did take place and punches were thrown.
“Trying to make a name for himself by competing hard against a NBA player and tempers flared … this happens in a pickup game, this is nothing new, but just because of PJ Hairston people making it more than what it seems to be,” Juan Morrow said.
Morrow also said the 6′ 4″, 198 pound high school basketball player pushed the 6′ 6″, 230-pound Hairston, and he pushed back.
“Both shoved each other,” Morrow said in a telephone interview. At that point the altercation escalated into punches, the agent said.
“He swung at P.J., and P.J. swung back,” Morrow said, adding that “both connected.”
The police were not called in response to the incident.
The Charlotte Hornets released a statement on Sunday:
“The organization is aware of an incident this afternoon involving P.J. Hairston. We are in the process of gathering additional information and will have no further comment at this time.”