Charlotte Hornets captain Kemba Walker said he and teammates are still formulating how best to help Charlotte heal in the aftermath of the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.
"We’re going to get into the community to do what we can to help. Right now, I don’t know how, but it’s in the works and will happen," Walker said during the team’s pre-training camp media day Monday.
"I think we will be pro-active, but it takes time and a lot of effort. We’ll take the effort. We live here. I’ve been here going on six years now. I hate to see these things happen. I want to be a part (of the healing) and I will."
Walker followed the news, mostly via CNN. He was asked Monday about video Charlotte-Mecklenburg police released Saturday of the situation that led to police shooting Scott.
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"I haven’t seen all of the videos, but I’ve heard a lot of them were pretty disturbing and pretty hard to watch," Walker said.
"It’s heartbreaking. I know it’s a tough situation on both ends. I can’t really speak for the police officers. I don’t know what they’re going through. But it’s really hard to watch. You never want to see anyone get killed for no reason."
Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he would respect whatever public reactions his players might have to the shooting and subsequent protests in Charlotte. Hornets owner Michael Jordan spoke out recently on the subject of police shootings and made matching $1 million contributions to an NAACP legal defense fund and a community-police relations organization.
"We’ve had conversations internally with our players on how we could help. They want to do that," Clifford said.
As to what any player might say or do regarding social justice, Clifford said, "What our democracy is built on is the right to personal expression. We have a responsibility to accept the beliefs and feelings of others, even if you strongly disagree."
Batum’s decision was a family thing
Nic Batum agreed to re-sign with the Hornets within hours of the start of free agency July 1. Batum said his wife played a big role in that decision based on their first year living in Charlotte, following a June 2015 trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.
"Everyone welcomed me with open arms. Everyone wanted to know about who I am. Asked me questions about my country," said the French native.
"That’s why my wife really wanted me back here. She said, "You better be back here!" My family and I love this city."
Center only position without a penciled-in starter
Clifford said he envisions Walker, Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams all starting, assuming health.
That leaves center, where Clifford will likely have to decide between Cody Zeller or free agent-signee Roy Hibbert as the fifth starter.
Both figure to play plenty either way, and both said Monday that starting isn’t that big a deal.
Get Walker to the All-Star Game
It sounds like Batum has appointed himself campaign chairman to get Walker to New Orleans to play in the All-Star Game in February.
"If I’m an All-Star, that’s cool, but my goal is to get Kemba to the All-Star Game,” Batum said. "People don’t understand how good he is. He’s our leader and he’s going to be here for a while - I think the next 10 years. And I’m going to do anything I can to get him to the All-Star Game."
Since the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004, only one Charlotte player, Gerald Wallace in 2010, has been selected to play in the All-Star Game.
Walker said he’s disappointed for Charlotte that the NBA chose to move the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans over House Bill 2.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell