PORTSMOUTH, Va. — You can think of the Portsmouth Invitational sort of like a game show. You have your 64 contestants competing, trying to appeal to the likes of judges in the form of NBA, G-league and overseas scouts with professional contracts at stake.
There is no blueprint for what the perfect player looks like and according to scouts, it varies depending on the needs of the team. In the Charlotte Hornets front office, general manager Mitch Kupchak, who won 3 NBA titles during his time as a pro, has made it to almost every P.I.T. since 1986. As an NBA veteran whose seen it all, what he cherishes most about the tournament goes beyond the players.
"The P.I.T. is special because it's more of a community event. The community here really accepts the NBA," said Kupchak. "You see the same people every year, they all know you by name, so this is really a special event and one day I won't be coming, and I'll miss it."
Kupchak was an All- American at UNC and a member of the gold medal- winning 1976 United States Olympic team. As a professional player, he won three NBA titles – one as a member of the Washington Bullets and two with the Los Angeles Lakers. He served as general manager of the Lakers for 17 years, before moving over to the Hornets in 2018.
Kupchak will more than likely be having a conversation with NBA great and fellow Tar Heel Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, on the talent he witnessed here at the tournament.