Hairston: I have a lot of growing up to do
Posted July 10
Charlotte, N.C. — For the first time since his most recent round of off-the-court troubles, former University of North Carolina and current Charlotte Hornets guard PJ Hairston addressed the media Thursday, saying that he “has to move on.”
“I’m still in the maturing process and I’m still growing up,” Hairston said. “I still have a lot of growing up to do. Life is life. You are going to make mistakes. This is something I have to move on from again.”
On Sunday, Hairston was issued a criminal summons for assault and battery following an altercation at a Durham YMCA over the Fourth of July weekend where he allegedly punched a 17-year-old during a pick-up game. Hairston’s name also surfaced when his 2015 Cadillac SUV was being driven by NFL wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon was charged with DWI and later bonded out by convicted felon Haydn “Fats” Thomas, who is the man at the center of improprieties that led to Hairston losing his NCAA eligibility last winter.
“What I told him the other day is that we need to start having more meetings about his defense or offense or shot selection and less about what it means to be a dependable player,” said Hornets head coach Steve Clifford. “To be honest with you, I’m confident that he will get to that. He’s a good person. I like him, I like the way he works. He’s made mistakes, he knows it, he’s owned up to it. It’s part of his maturation process. At this level, it’s all on him at the end of the day. We have to help him, but he’s a talented enough guy that he can have a good NBA career.”
Hairston, who wrapped up mini-camp with the Hornets Thursday, will head to Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League which starts Friday. Hairston said that he is happy to be playing in games so he can ‘focus.’
“Being here and being in my sanctuary; this is how I focus and stay away from everything,” Hairston said.
Asked if he will be returning to Durham anytime soon, Hairston said, “I don’t have a reason to be back there. I have a job now so I can’t risk my job anymore. I have guys here that I can play ball with so I don’t need to be anywhere else.”
“There’s character and there’s basketball character,” said Clifford. “The guys that do the right things off the floor give themselves a better chance to do the right things on the floor.”
Hairston is due in court Aug. 8 to appear in front of a magistrate for the July 5 incident involving Northern Durham High School’s Kentrell Barkley at the Durham YMCA.
Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, said that it is a case of Barkley getting “too excited playing against PJ,” while Barkley make it clear with an all-caps Tweet that read, “I DID NOT HIT PJ.”
“I don’t really depend on anyone else, I depend on myself,” Hairston said. “It’s up to me to move on from this situation. I get advice but I don’t really take it in. I mean, I take it in, but I’m grown now. I’m a man now. I have to take stuff into my own hands."