The Charlotte Hornets are set to return to Spectrum Center later this week to begin the second half of the season and when they do, they'll be able to host a limited number of fans.
However, prior to this announcement, 13-year-old Preston Pruitt missed interacting with the team so much that he and his other Janelle made their way to Spectrum Center so that Preston could possibly get an autograph or at least a wave from some of his favorite players as they were leaving the arena postgame.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, the autographs didn’t happen, but he did have some special moments that evening.
"I just really miss being able to have the experience to be able to see the players up close like I was able to do at games and stuff. It was cool to see all of the players being able to wave at me, even though they weren't able to sign autographs just that interaction with people I feel like is pretty cool," Preston Pruitt explained.
Preston has been a lifelong Charlotte Hornets Fan, from attending games to the team’s summer ball camps and his first NBA autograph was from the one and only Kemba Walker.
"I'm kind of a Kemba fan. I love Kemba," Preston said as he showed a large stack of Kemba Walker cards he's collected.
Since then collecting autographs has become a passion of his and it's led to some pretty cool experiences with players and coaches, including Hornets guard Devonte Graham who gave him a pair of shoes at a game.
"I was almost in tears. I looked up to my mom like 'Mama, I got the shoes!'"
Preston's support for the Hornets has already gotten the attention of rookie LaMelo Ball and his team, who sent him a hoodie after they heard about Preston's efforts to still show his support even though he couldn't attend a game.
"I was ecstatic. I was so excited," Pruitt said. "Watching him at Chino Hills and whatnot and being able to see him and seeing him getting drafted I was very excited. When I got the hoodie I was like wow this is so crazy."
Preston, like many other fans, can't wait to be back at Spectrum cheering the Hornets on to hopefully many more victories and possibly even the playoffs this season. For those looking to get an autograph from their favorite player, Pruitt says the biggest key to having success is simple, just be kind to the players.