CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LaMelo Ball is thrilled to have a chance to play for the Charlotte Hornets. But the 6-foot-7 point guard is more excited to play for the one of the greatest basketball players of all time in Michael Jordan.
“Man, straight blessing, for real,” Ball said of the six-time NBA champion and current Hornets owner. “I don’t even have enough words to say, I’m just blessed.”
The Hornets selected Ball with the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft, giving Jordan’s team a player with immediate notoriety and a rookie who can help put fans in the seats once the coronavirus subsides. Ball has amassed more than 5.6 million followers on Instagram — which is 600,000 more than last year’s No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.
“He’s a very young talented player who plays the kind of pace that we like to play,” Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “He has a flare to his game that maybe has some entertainment to it, maybe more so than some other players. (But) that’s not why we drafted him. We drafted him because of his size and length and the way he can handle the ball and the way he pushes the ball.”
It’s unclear what the addition of Ball means for Charlotte’s starting backcourt of Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier, the team’s two leading scorers last season. Graham averaged 18.2 points per game in his second season, while Rozier averaged 18 points per game after coming over from the Celtics.