Charlotte sports, and a good play by Cam

Published 6:42 pm Sunday, June 28, 2015

I’m not disappointed in what team owner Michael Jordan pulled off this week with the Charlotte Hornets.  The Bugs have re-vamped their line-up AND their wardrobe with the unveiling of new black-&-teal road uniforms they will be sporting on the court next season.

Is it just me, or is their uniform color schemes beginning to more resemble the NFL’s Carolina Panthers (teal-blue, white, and now black)? Hey, the universal color scheme has worked with Pittsburgh and Los Angeles’ pro teams, so why not in Charlotte!?!

Frank Kaminsky (Charlotte’s first-round draft pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft) is a gamble, since I’m one of those who feel that despite his 7’ size, the front-court player will be “defensively challenged” as a pro much more so than he ever was in college at Wisconsin. It’ll take a couple of years on the floor to ‘fatten’ him up, but with some size, he’ll be able to hold his own in the paint. Offensively, though – and the Hornets DO need scoring – he’ll be a great asset alongside Al Jefferson and newly-acquired Nick Batum.  They also now have Jeremy Lamb, and this former University of Connecticut product will be re-teamed with his former backcourt-mate with the Huskies in Kemba Walker. Between them last season when Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed 21 games, Charlotte lost 16 of them.

I just hated to see Gerald Henderson go west (to the Portland Trailblazers for Batum) since, as a Duke product; he was a crowd favorite and helped sell tickets.

Kelford’s Kent Bazemore and his Atlanta Hawks teammates will have their work cut out for them in the NBA Southeast Division next year.  This ought to be fun, even if you’re not a ‘die-hard’ fan who follows pro basketball.

Speaking of the Panthers, it was a great gesture on the part of owner Jerry Richardson to donate $100,000 to the victims in the Charleston, SC shooting ($10,000 to each family and another 10-grand to Mother Emmanuel AME Church).  This will certainly help with unforeseen funeral expenses, as well as contribute to a church memorial. Richardson vowed 21 years ago when he was awarded the franchise that his team would represent BOTH Carolinas and he put his money where his mouth is.  He didn’t make any political statements; instead he just made a wonderful humanitarian gesture.

I was even more impressed that another recipient of Richardson’s financial generosity – Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who just signed a new five-year $104 million contract with the team, went to Charleston and visited with the relatives of some of the victims.

Newton’s trip to Charleston came five days after the tragedy.

“It was a senseless act, but at the same time it was done in South Carolina,” Newton told the media Thursday during his Cam Newton Foundation 7-v-7 Football Tournament, which included teams representing both Carolinas. “Being a face of a franchise that is based out of North Carolina, it’s the whole gamut.”

Newton reached out to Newberry College linebacker Rashard Alston to set up the visit with Alston’s friend Chris Singleton, a Charleston Southern University baseball player whose mother, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was among those killed in the massacre.  She was the track coach who was buried on Thursday.

“Why didn’t I go? That’s the thing I would have to question myself if I didn’t go. I’m happy I did it. And so much respect to those families who lost their loved one. I didn’t want to be a distraction by no means; I just wanted to show my respect.”

This doesn’t mean you Cowboys and Redskins fans won’t be rooting for Cam to get taken down by your defenses when those teams meet the Panthers on the field this fall.

Maybe it shows you why some people say that what you see out there on Sundays are more than a game.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer with Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7211.