Charlotte Hornets

Hornets leaving Charlotte for training camp at one of Michael Jordan’s old haunts

The Charlotte Hornets will hold training camp in Chapel Hill, where team owner Michael Jordan played for Dean Smith before going on to the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.
The Charlotte Hornets will hold training camp in Chapel Hill, where team owner Michael Jordan played for Dean Smith before going on to the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

The Charlotte Hornets are headed to Chapel Hill in late September for three days of training camp and an exhibition game against the Boston Celtics.

Training camp will be Sept. 25 through 27 at the Dean Smith Center, then the Hornets play the Celtics there Friday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that game go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. Fox Sports Southeast plans to telecast the Hornets-Celtics exhibition.

Typically, NBA training camp practices are not open to the public.

This will be the first time the Hornets have gone out of town for training camp since 2014. The Hornets held camp at the Spectrum Center practice gym in 2015 before leaving for two exhibitions in China, then had camp in Charlotte the following two seasons.

It’s a natural the Hornets would connect with the Tar Heels; owner Michael Jordan, general manager Mitch Kupchak and assistant general manager Buzz Peterson all played college ball for North Carolina.

Since the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004, the franchise then called the Bobcats has also held training camp at UNC-Asheville and UNC-Wilmington. This is a substantially different basketball administration for the Hornets, with Kupchack hired in April and James Borrego replacing Steve Clifford as coach.

The Hornets have a former North Carolina star in power forward Marvin Williams. The Celtics don’t feature any key Tar Heel alumni, but there is a Triangle connection: Two of the Celtics’ top returning players — point guard Kyrie Irving and small forward Jayson Tatum — each played a season at Duke.

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