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Ish Smith back home to play for the Charlotte Hornets

Ish Smith has played for 11 teams in 12 years, but is finally coming home to play for the...
Ish Smith has played for 11 teams in 12 years, but is finally coming home to play for the Charlotte Hornets. Smith played high school ball at Central Cabarrus in Concord(WBTV)
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - After going undrafted in 2010, former Central Cabarrus star Ish Smith has turned hard work into a 12 year NBA career. Now he is coming home to play for the Charlotte Hornets.

A homecoming a long time in the making as he hopes to get the Hornets back to where they use to be when he was a little kid.

“I remember from ‘88 to ‘98, we held the attendance record for 10 years straight,” said Smith. “We had great teams and we want to get back to that level of play. So yeah, I wanted to be home. I ain’t going to lie to you.”

In his 12 year career, Ish has played for 11 different teams starting with Houston who signed him as a free agent in 2010. He’s also made stops in Memphis, Golden State, Orlando, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia (twice), New Orleans, Detroit, and Washington. Charlotte will be team number 12. Ish has no problem with his story and journey in the league.

“Somebody liked me so eventually, you going to have to say he can play and he is here,” said Ish with a smile on his face.

Ish will serve as the Hornets back up point guard backing up the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball.

Playing in Washington last year, Ish got to play against this new version of the Hornets 3 times and he was very impressed. He likes the speed at which Charlotte plays. But what impressed him the most and what brought him home to play for Charlotte...

“They are very unselfish,” said Ish. “Man, that’s one thing I love about this team-- very unselfish and move the basketball. That says a lot about coach (James) Borrego and that says a lot about the point guard. Melo just sharing the ball was very infectious and everybody else fed off of that.”

It is mind blowing that Smith will be playing his home games in the NBA just 24 miles from where he played high school basketball at Central Cabarrus.

“For it to come full circle, I am truly thankful,” said Smith. “I thank the Lord everyday for the position he has put me in and to bless others. I hope when people watch me play, they get inspired. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that you are inspiring others. It’s not even about you anymore.”

It is indeed good to be home even though, he knows the request for tickets will go up. But as a 12 year veteran, he know how to handle that aspect as well.

“Everyone around me is more excited than me,” said Smith. “To me, it’s like let’s get to work and let’s start something special. The good thing is, this is not year 3 or 4 for me this is year 12. They can come to the game all they want, but don’t bug me (as he chuckles).”

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