By Cameron Lee
March 17, 2018
Jeremy Lamb is having a banner year. The often overlooked and gaunty shooting guard has been on quite the journey in his short career thus far. Not uncommon for many young adults post-college entering the professional world, Lamb moved to multiple cities with his job before landing in Charlotte. While most 18-year-olds are usually not in the White House celebrating a National Championship (2011 UConn Huskies) like Lamb, his story is probably a bit more relatable to the average Charlottean than you might think. “We had our ups and downs… going through the obstacles in those five games (in the NCAA tournament), it was just surreal looking back it, it’s hard to explain but it was just a great experience,” Lamb said. Being apart of that magical tournament run and inside the White House a little over two years into Barack Obama’s presidency was also an eye-opening moment for Lamb, “He actually knew who I was, that was huge, I never thought I would have a chance to be in that situation.”
Lamb grew up in Richmond, Virginia with three siblings in a deeply religious family. They eventually relocated to Norcross, Georgia and, as a 4-star recruit in high school, he wasn’t as highly recruited as you may think a #76 ranked player in the country would be. Famed coach Jim Calhoun of the UConn Huskies likened him to a lengthier Richard Hamilton, a former UConn great.
“UConn was the first big time school that offered me, I wasn’t really on the map, but I had a good tournament (at Norcross High School) and UConn was the first team that reached out,” said Lamb.
It turned out to be a great decision for the Huskies, as Lamb played key minutes and made some clutch plays as a freshman during their championship run averaging 11.1 points per game during the season and 16.2 points per game in the NCAA tournament alongside current and former teammate, Kemba Walker. Averaging almost 18 points per game in his sophomore campaign, Lamb was ready for the NBA, and was drafted #12 by the Houston Rockets in the 2012 draft.
After making big time contributions as a freshman on a national championship team and leading a major college program in scoring as a sophomore, the NBA experience started off a little shaky for Lamb; he was traded a few months after he was drafted. Lamb was involved in the blockbuster trade that brought James Harden to the Rockets in exchange for Lamb, Kevin Martin, two first-round draft picks, and a second-round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a challenging time for Lamb: “It was crazy, you hear all of the stories about the NBA being a business, until you experience it, you never really know… I actually first heard rumors on social media, and probably 20 minutes later Daryl Morey (Houston Rockets G.M.) called me, then my agent called me. It felt like being in a tornado when I first came into the league.”
It didn’t get much better for Lamb in OKC as he spent time in the D-league and played sparingly from the Thunder bench. After only three years in the league, Lamb was already looking for a fresh start. The newly rebranded Charlotte Hornets, who were seeking a spark off the bench, provided that opportunity in the summer of 2015 when they traded Luke Ridnour and a second-round pick for Lamb. “When I first got here, I didn’t really think about the city too much, and just cared more about the team, but once I got around the city a little bit, it started to feel more like home,” Lamb said.
After quickly signing an extension in late 2015, Lamb has gotten acclimated to his environment both on and off court. While his work ethic and offseason routine has improved vastly since his arrival in Charlotte (a sentiment his coaches have mentioned), he’s on track to have career highs in points, assists, steals and shooting percentage. It’s one of the few really bright spots in a down season for the Hornets.
Off the court, Lamb is getting around more in the city. While he isn’t able to catch many concerts in Charlotte due to the rigorous NBA travel schedule, as an avid hip-hop fan, Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Lamb, and company were able to catch New York rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie at the Fillmore in November.
“I listen to a lot of A Boogie, Migos, Young Thug, Uzi, and a lot of the Atlanta rappers…. I like good vibe music, it’s not always hype, but songs that get you excited because what they are talking about,” Lamb said.
When he’s not on the court or in the gym you might be able to catch him at The Corner Pub or Steamers playing darts, and his favorite restaurant spots in the city include The Cellar at Duckworth’s, Capital Grille, and Vapiano’s.
While Jeremy Lamb’s time in Charlotte has been short lived, you can find obvious parallels in his story when comparing it to the many young professionals in our city. Often underestimated and overlooked, Charlotte provides a haven for people to prove themselves that many competing cities may not offer. The 25-year-old Lamb is now finding comfort gradually and improving his game daily, not eagerly or overzealously seeking a place to call home, but taking advantage of the opportunity at hand and having some fun doing it. Just like many of us.
Check out the remaining 2018 Charlotte Hornets schedule. Have you been to the new Hornets Fan Shop yet?