Hornets' LaMelo Ball Donates 500 Blankets to Charlotte Homeless Shelters

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2021

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball passes the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

Charlotte Hornets rookie guard LaMelo Ball is lending a helping hand to those in need in the Charlotte area.

According to TMZ Sports, the Charlotte Salvation Army said Ball donated 500 blankets to the homeless during what has been a bitterly cold winter.

A Salvation Army spokesperson said: "There's a lot of need out there, so we're thankful when people like LaMelo step up to provide something like this."

Per TMZ Sports, the homeless population in Charlotte has risen 25 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and temperatures in the area are expected to be in the low 20s in the coming weeks, creating a significant need for the blankets Ball provided.

The 19-year-old Ball was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, and his young career is off to a strong start.

In 22 games this season, including two starts, Ball is averaging 12.7 points, 6.0 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. He is also shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from beyond the arc.

LaMelo's all-around play is a big reason why the Hornets are somewhat surprisingly in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

At 10-12, the Hornets are tied for seventh in the conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers, meaning they would be in the playoffs if they started today.

The Hornets haven't reached the playoffs since 2015-16, but they finally seem to have a strong core led by Ball, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington and Devonte' Graham.

Ball's on-court play has been solid and has him among the top NBA Rookie of the Year contenders, but his off-court generosity is perhaps even more impressive.