Charlotte Hornets

Hornets’ PJ Hairston cited for driving with revoked license in third legal issue in as many years

P.J. Hairston, left, was cited by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police on June 18 for driving with a revoked license, speeding, driving left of center and driving with expired tags.
P.J. Hairston, left, was cited by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police on June 18 for driving with a revoked license, speeding, driving left of center and driving with expired tags. ibartolucci@charlotteobserver.co

For a third consecutive summer, Hornets guard P.J. Hairston is facing legal trouble.

Hairston was cited around noon on June 18 for driving with a revoked license, speeding, driving left of center and driving on expired tags.

According to the citation, Hairston’s 2015 black Cadillac Escalade was traveling at 51 mph in a 35 mph zone on Toddville Road heading toward Freedom Drive. The tags were expired and his vehicle went more than half its width over the double yellow line for 25-30 yards, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer N.S. Bush’s report.

Hairston said Wednesday the license revocation was a misunderstanding, that he paid a previous ticket in Davie County, but Davie County officials failed to reinstate his North Carolina driver’s license.

“I was pulled over and my license was suspended. I got (another) ticket on my birthday, I paid the ticket and Davie County failed to reinstate my license,” Hairston said following the Hornets’ summer-league loss to the Orlando Magic. “My financial adviser drove to Davie County with the receipt I had. I had to wait for them to reinstate my license. I have a valid license now and my truck has been inspected and I paid the taxes on my truck.

“So everything is fine. Just a big mix-up in the media and a false message on Twitter going around about me. It is what it is; people need something to talk about.”

A spokesman for the Hornets did not have an immediate comment but said the team is still gathering information.

Hairston’s issues go back to the summer of 2013, when he was arrested for a misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license.

Those charges were dismissed after Hairston provided proof of a license and took a drug assessment course. But in that year, Hairston had various off-court issues, some of which cost him his NCAA eligibility at North Carolina and forced him into the NBA Development League.

Last summer, less than two weeks after he was selected 26th overall in the 2014 NBA draft, Hairston was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery after he was involved in an altercation at a Durham YMCA with a 17-year-old during a pickup game.

That charge was eventually dropped by the Durham district attorney.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford sounded somewhat exasperated last summer when asked about Hairston’s off-court behavior.

“What I told him the other day is, we need to have more meetings about his defense and shot selection and less about what he has to do to be a dependable player,” Clifford said. “The guys who do the right things off the floor give themselves the chance to do the right things on the floor. That just makes sense. It all fits together.”

Hairston has not been an efficient NBA player. He shot 30.1 percent from 3-point range in his rookie season and just 32.3 percent from the field. He had 22 turnovers to 21 assists and averaged 5.6 points in 15.3 minutes per game.

He hasn’t fared much better in summer league. He’s shooting 33 percent from the field and 29 percent from the 3-point line. Hairston suffered a shoulder contusion during Tuesday’s win against the Brooklyn Nets but was able to play Wednesday against the Magic’s split squad.

In the officer comments section of the June 18 report, Hairston “advised his dog ate” something before the comments are cut off.

Staff writer Gavin Off contributed.

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9

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