UNC Basketball Champ Slated for Return to Televised On-Court Action

In its 11th year, The Basketball Tournament includes one UNC basketball product in electrifying point guard Ty Lawson.
UNC basketball national champions
UNC basketball national champions / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Ty Lawson did not play for any team during the 2023-24 season. The 2009 UNC basketball national champion's last appearance in an official league game anywhere was for Gaiteros del Zulia in Venezuela over a year ago.

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But the 36-year-old guard, the ACC Player of the Year as a Tar Heel junior on the 2008-09 squad before hearing his name No. 18 overall at the NBA Draft, will be back on the court and on TV potentially for a few weeks beginning in late July.

He will suit up for the LA Ignite in the 11th edition of The Basketball Tournament, the event recently announced on social media.

With a million dollars in store for the winner of the 64-team, single-elimination bracket, which uses the Elam Ending to decide outcomes and features dozens of former NBA players, Lawson has a chance to resharpen his skill set while hunting another considerable paycheck. It'll mark the first time the legendary UNC basketball floor general or LA Ignite has competed in TBT action.

TBT tips off on July 19 across eight regional sites and ends with the title game two weeks later in Philadelphia. FOX Sports will broadcast games live on FOX, FS1, and FS.

Lawson began his nine-year NBA career with the Denver Nuggets, peaking at 17.6 points and 8.8 assists per outing in 2013-14 before seeing his production plummet in 2015-16 and 2016-17 between his stints with the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and Sacramento Kings. He then spent five years in various leagues overseas.

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Matt Giles


Matt Giles is the editor and publisher of FanNation's Blue Devil Country and All Tar Heels, covering the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels on SI.com.