Victim's Guardian: P.J. Hairston Acted Like a "Coward"

DURHAM, N.C. -- A Durham High School student says first-round NBA pick, P.J. Hairston, punched him in the head during a pick-up basketball game on Sunday.

Kentrell Barkley says Hairston punched him twice at the Durham YMCA. Hairston was issued a criminal summons on Monday for assault and battery.

READ: Durham Police: P.J. Hairston Issued Court Summons for Fight at YMCA

Barkley's guardian told WFMY News 2 the high school senior looked up to Hairston, but not anymore.

"We didn't argue, there wasn't an altercation or anything-it was just like out of nowhere, so, I was surprised," said Kentrell Barkley.

"We were all excited that they were going to being playing with Hairston and never in any way expected something like this to happen in a pickup basketball game against a NBA player," said Rick Phillips, Barkley's guardian.

Phillips explained, "Kentrell was playing and had won about 3 games against P.J. and whoever else was playing. P.J. made a comment as he was playing against Kentrell that he can't dribble to his right and Kentrell said 'I just did, I just went to my right'."

Phillips says on Hairston's next possession, the NBA player went towards Barkley, punched him the forehead, and then scored a basket.

When Barkley asked P.J. why he punched him, Phillips says, "P.J. got in his face, he turned and walked away but then in turn, he turned back around and struck Kentrell in the side of the neck with his fist."

"P.J. in turn grabbed his stuff and rushed out of the Y and left."

The NBA player's PR representative told WFMY, Hairston is regretful of the situation but said he was antagonized.

Phillips says, "That's not true, that sounds good coming from him, that sounds like it would be a great alibi, that people were 'trying' him, they were all looking up to him."

Phillips says Hairston acted like a "coward" but all he wants now is an apology.

"I don't have a lawyer, I have not talked to one, we are not trying to do that, we just know that PJ was wrong in doing what he did."

P.J. Hairston released the following statement:

"I want to apologize to the Hornets organization and our fans for creating this distraction. As this is now a legal matter, I cannot comment on the situation any further. I am truly sorry for any embarrassment that I have caused."


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