Reports: LaMelo Ball, Hornets sued by North Carolina mother

A North Carolina woman has filed a lawsuit against Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball and the team, contending Ball struck her then-11-year-old son with his SUV.

USA Today and ESPN, whom reviewed the lawsuit, said Wednesday that Tamaria McRae alleges that her son approached Ball’s vehicle as he was exiting “Purple and Team Day at the Hive,” a fan event that was held Oct. 7 at the Hornets’ arena in downtown Charlotte. The boy, Angell Joseph, was among the fans who headed toward Ball while he was stopped at a red light, per the report.

McRae claims in the suit that when the light turned green, Ball took off “in a grossly negligent and reckless manner in that he accelerated his vehicle forward suddenly and without warning and struck” the boy.

McRae’s attorney, Cameron deBrun, told ESPN that the boy sustained injuries to his back and a foot. An incident report taken by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, which ESPN obtained, said the youngster had “minor” scratches and bruises.

The woman is seeking damages in excess of $25,000 for physical pain and emotional distress.

Neither the team nor Ball have commented.

Ball has seen limited action the past two seasons because of issues with his right ankle. He appeared in 36 games in 2022-23 due to a broken right ankle, then just 22 games last season after a sprain.

Ball, 22, averaged a career-high 23.9 points per game to go with 8.0 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 2023-24, last playing Jan. 26. He was shut down for the year in late March with the Hornets out of playoff contention.

In four seasons with the Hornets, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft has averaged 20.0 points, 7.4 assists and 6.2 rebounds in 184 games (164 starts).

He was limited to 51 games as a rookie due to injuries, but still earned Rookie of the Year honors. He was an All-Star in 2021.

–Field Level Media