Lawsuit Against Charlotte Hornets and LaMelo Ball Claims NBA Star Drove Over Young Fan's Foot

“This is his hero, his idol and he got run over by him," a lawyer representing the boy and his mother said of the incident

Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty  LaMelo Ball
Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty LaMelo Ball

The Charlotte Hornets and LaMelo Ball have been sued by a North Carolina mother who claims the 22-year-old basketball star drove over her son's foot while the boy was attempting to get an autograph from Ball, according to multiple reports.

The incident allegedly took place during a fan event hosted by the Hornets called "Purple and Teal Day at the Hive" in October 2023, according to court documents obtained by ESPN that were reportedly filed on May 21.

The mother, Tamaria McRae, alleged that her 12-year-old son Angell Joseph, who was 11 at the time of the incident, was waiting for Ball outside of the employee entrance at Spectrum Center in downtown Charlotte before he was "severely" injured by the athlete's car, per ESPN's report.

McRae spoke to local Charlotte news station WSOCTV about the incident, claiming that her son told Ball, "LaMelo, I love you," and asked for an autograph before the athlete ignored the request and drove off.

According to ESPN's report, Angell and a group of fans had approached Ball's car while he was stopped at a traffic light after exiting the arena.

McRae claimed in the lawsuit that although Ball noticed her son standing beside the car before the light turned green, the Hornets star drove away "in a grossly negligent and reckless manner in that he accelerated his vehicle forward suddenly and without warning and struck" Angell, per ESPN's report.

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According to WSOCTV, McRae recalled the moment she realized her son had been injured. “I just seen my son kind of go down and I thought maybe he had dropped something,” she told the news station.

McRae's lawyer, Cameron deBrun, told ESPN that Angell suffered injuries to his foot and back. The outlet noted that a copy of the incident report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, later obtained by ESPN, said Angell suffered bruising and scratches and described the boy's injuries as "minor."

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The laywer told WSOCTV that the family filed the lawsuit after Ball's name and insurance information were left off of the police report, making it impossible for them to file a claim for the boy's medical bills.

"Because that information was not provided, we only have one recourse and that's the court system," deBrun told WSOCTV, adding, “This is his hero, his idol, and he got run over by him."

Jonathan Daniel/Getty LaMelo and Lonzo Ball
Jonathan Daniel/Getty LaMelo and Lonzo Ball

According to the WSOCTV, McRae's lawsuit included the Hornets because the incident occurred during an official team event, arguing that the organization could have been more diligent about fan safety.

McRae said Angell has also been emotionally affected by the incident with Ball, telling WSOCTV, “For a while, I couldn’t even recognize who my child was because, like depression, not being able to go outside and play."

“When you see your children hurt, it hurts you,” McRae continued, per the news station's report. “It’s been rough. It’s been real rough. I mean like I’m a strong person. This broke me. This right here, it really did.”

Representatives for the Charlotte Hornets and Ball did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

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