Hornets teammates excited to witness RJ Hunter recovered from injury and back in the NBA


Two years ago, RJ Hunter had no choice but to put his basketball career on hold, as he suffered a devastating knee injury in Australia. The blow could’ve perfectly taken him out of the game for good, but instead the 29-year-old decided to work on his recovery until he was healthy enough for a team to sign him back to professional courts. 

The best news is that he’s not only back, but he’s recently been signed by the Hornets and will make his return this season to the NBA.

“It’s going great,” the shooting guard said after Charlotte’s training camp. “The guys have welcomed me in ever since pre-training camp workouts began. Super-solid down-to-earth vibe in the locker room. Guys are just coming to work. That’s all you can real ask for from an NBA team.”

Hunter, who last played for Australia’s Sydney Kings, had already worn the jerseys of the Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks. Today, the former 28th overall pick is ready for another chance and happy to return by Terry Rozier‘s side, who both met as rookies in Massachusetts.

“I love Terry as a friend,” he said with a grin. “I love being around him. I love who he is as a person, what he’s fought through to get here. I told him the other day, ‘Bro, your growth and development is mind-blowing as a person, as a player, as a leader.’ I love seeing Terry succeed. He’s a genuine dude, genuine person, one of my good friends. Being around him gives me a good vibe.”

As for his teammate, he admitted he couldn’t believe when he heard the news of his Hornets signing and was overjoyed by the fact he left his injury in the past.

“RJ’s my guy,” Rozier said. “I’ve been supporting him through all these years. I got with him this summer and it was right around when we heard the news that he was going to be with the Charlotte Hornets. I was excited. It’s good to see a friend keep working and have that bounce-back. No matter what he went through, he can still play and do what he loves.”

Hunter recalls splitting his ‘knee in half’ almost two years ago just as he was playing his first minutes for the Sydney Kings

The former Boston rookie had just signed a contract to represent the Sydney Kings at the end of 2021 and was ready to rock Australian basketball. In one of his first appearances, they travelled to play the Illawarra Hawks on January 13, 2022, and he suffered a season-ending rupture in his left tendon.

“I split my knee in half,” Hunter recalled. “It was my first basketball injury. That was difficult for me, but just so needed. Just the space away from the game, the things I needed to appreciate, the things I was taking for granted. I needed the whole perspective. I don’t take any of these days for granted. I had to dig deep and find out what I play this game for, my why and then just go from there. I used to come into these early practices like, ‘Ahhh, let’s get this over with.’ Now, I realize this can be taken from you in any moment.”

In the video below, check out Charlotte’s preseason opener against the Miami Heat as Hunter was given significant minutes on court:

It was a weird experience for the shooting guard, as he recovered in the United States as his team won the Australian league for the first time since 2005 without him. Now, he admits that he’s learned to overcome many difficulties since then, and won’t take the opportunity in Charlotte for granted.

“Not even just me, but a lot of athletes, we pour a lot into this – physically, emotionally, spiritually, however you look at it,” he explained. “We don’t have a lot of time left over for other things. Giving myself other things and room to have other interests – I started my own clothing brand called Cosmic. Learning a lot, going to different places, traveling, learning about different cultures, just living life for a year without having to be somewhere, be on schedule, putting pressure on myself.”