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Hornets' P.J. Hairston charged with assault, battery after fight

Hornets' P.J. Hairston charged with assault, battery after fight Photo: Sergio Hentschel/NBA via Getty Images

Charlotte Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston has been charged with assault and battery following his role in an altercation at a pickup basketball game Sunday, reports WTVD, the ABC affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.

According to a court official in Durham, where the alleged fight between Hairston and 17-year-old Kentrell Barkley took place, Hairston won't be arrested but does face a court summons for the charges.

Hairston is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 8 to face those misdemeanor charges. 

Barkley told ESPN on Sunday that Hairston punched him unprovoked while the two were running up the court, and that Hairston punched him again when Barkley asked what was going on. Hairston's agent, Juan Morrow, said that punches were exchanged but his client punched Barkley only in retaliation after the teenager attacked Hairston first.

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The Hornets released a statement Sunday saying they were aware of the incident and would hold off on commenting further until they gathered more information.

Hairston also released a statement apologizing for his actions.  

"I want to apologize to the Hornets organization and our fans for creating a 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 has a history of off-the-court problems stemming from his time playing down the road from Durham at North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Following NCAA rules violations accrued after Hairston accepted rental cars tied to local convicted felon Haydn "Fats" Thomas, North Carolina elected not to seek Hairston's reinstatement, and he began playing in the National Basketball Development League in January for the Texas Legends.

Selected No. 26 in the 2014 NBA draft by the Miami Heat, Hairston was traded to the Hornets in a draft-night deal in exchange for Connecticut's Shabazz Napier, who Charlotte selected with the No. 24 pick.

—Ben Estes

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