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Quick Reactions to P.J. Hairston’s Gym Altercation



Read the news-ish update here.

Doug Branson (@QCHDoug)

This is not how I imagined Hairston’s greatest hits file starting.

We don’t have all of the facts yet and the Hornets are still investigating what actually took place so I’ll just muse for a moment on the allegations. This is an odd situation with very little solid ground to argue on. No one was seriously injured. No police involvement with P.J., that we know of anyhow (UPDATE: Looks like he’s being charged.) And we have two conflicting stories out of P.J. Hairston’s camp and Kentrell Barkley (the punchee).

Anyone who plays pickup basketball knows that it’s physical, it gets heated. Lot of testosterone moving around and nothing but common decency keeping everyone in check. When you combine that with a celebrity near his hometown and kids who naturally want to show him up and you have a potentially explosive situation.

There is a contingent out there that looks at this situation and thinks something along the lines of, “If someone swings on me, I’m swinging back.” This was more or less the account of Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, which he gave to multiple outlets. The issue with this of course is that if Kentrell Barkely swings few people care outside of MAYBE a couple of the schools that are recruiting him, if P.J. swings back a lot of people care. A lot of people care because of his past actions that he’s owned up to. Someone asked me if this would have been a big deal had this happened in Atlanta or NYC or LA. The answer, in my mind, is absolutely. He’s a first round draft pick with baggage and hasn’t even had a season in the NBA to shake it. The better question, one that people will be asking now, is WOULD this have happened in Atlanta or NYC or LA?

I’m not the moral police. I’ve never had that kind of fame, success or money and I can’t tell you how I’d handle it if I did. But it seems as if some people find trouble despite whether they are looking for it or not. If you have a history of incidents that consequently ended a promising college career, lowered your draft stock and forced you to answer the same questions all through workouts, one would think, you would avoid placing yourself in situations where trouble could find you.

Even if you take it on faith that P.J. was not the aggressor, a pickup game is full of unknown elements. Dude’s with attitude trying to take shots. P.J. could have ended up with a serious injury just as soon as he found himself in this particular situation.

I’m not filled with outrage over this situation, just concern. Concern for what could have happened more than what actually happened. I’m a fan of P.J.’s game and he seemed like a nice enough person in interviews. However the events played out, the hope is that this is another lesson learned. The question is how many lessons do you get before it’s too late?

While I’m here, let me tackle one of the more idiotic things I’ve seen floating around the opinion-holes.

“P.J. shouldn’t be beating up on a kid.” Umm dude was 6’5″ and I’m not sure he would have responded to a request for ID.

Spencer Percy (@QCHSpencer)


This is a very disappointing beginning for P.J. Hairston and him being an official member of the Charlotte Hornets. Just ten days after being drafted by the Hornets Hairston’s name is out there for getting involved in a physical altercation with a high school kid at the Durham YMCA during a pick-up basketball game.

Hairston’s agent Juan Morrow has confirmed that the incident indeed involved “shoving” and “punches thrown” from both Hairston and Kentrell Barkley.

I don’t really know what else to say other than bad things happen to P.J. Hairston when he’s in the Durham, NC region. The people that said Hairston didn’t need to be drafted by the Hornets due to the fact that it would bring him back into a region where he clearly had a troubled past sound wise right about now. Could Hairston get in trouble no matter where he was? Absolutely. But the point is this: all of this appears on the outside to suggest there are easier access points for him to get himself into unwise situations near home.

Slice it up however you want, but the influences for the troubled Hairston are not good in the Durham region. I have no clue why or how, but it’s becoming more transparent that is the case with every new incident.

I coach high-school basketball and at least once every season I have to have the conversation with one of my players that whether or not you’re actually guilty, if you surround yourself with negative people/situations, you’re as good as guilty. If you’re a part of the group, you wear the target collectively.

Lastly, if I’m Al Jefferson or Kemba Walker I call Hairston as soon as possible and lend a leadership hand. Get this kid to Charlotte and working out with team members. Get him away from the troubled social situations that he’s chosen to surround himself with in the triangle region of the state.


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