Charlotte Hornets made a bobblehead of ex-Panther Steve Smith. He thinks it’s handsome. BY JOE MARUSAK
Former Carolina Panthers’ player Steve Smith wasted little time tweeting his thoughts about his new bobblehead that fans will get at Saturday’s Charlotte Hornets game.
“First 7,500 fans to March 10th’s game vs. the @Suns gets one of these incredibly handsome pieces of art!” Smith tweeted when the bobblehead arrived at his Steve Smith Family Foundation in Charlotte in late February. .
Smith is recognized by many as the Panthers’ best all-time player – a five-time Pro Bowl and three-time All-Pro wide receiver who played 13 seasons for the team.
The Hornets will honor Smith and his longtime charitable work in the community with Steve Smith Night at their game against the Phoenix Suns, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Spectrum Center in uptown.
The Hornets have designated the game as a “Classic Night,” and the team will wear its classic edition uniforms. The uniforms will match the bobblehead, which features Smith in a football-style version of the Hornets’ teal, pinstriped uniform. Smith’s uniform on the bobblehead sports his familiar Panthers’ No. 89.
The Hornets will highlight the work of Smith’s foundation at the game. His foundation promotes family health and wellness and domestic violence awareness and prevention.
The game also will be one of the first times Smith is promoting the Smith Family Wellness Center, a free clinic on Central Avenue that opened last year and offers medical and family counseling services.
Fans will be able to join the Hornets in donating to Smith’s foundation. The Hornets will present Smith with a check for a “significant amount” on Saturday, Pete Guelli, the team’s chief marketing and sales officer, told the Observer in January.
In a recent interview on Hornets.com , Smith recounted why he got involved in the causes.
“As we serve these families here in Charlotte, there are times when I sit and look and I see a guy or a young boy who possibly experienced and thought the same thing I thought. And he had the same fears I had when I was a young man, when I was a teenager, in witnessing and experiencing some of the things that my mother experienced,” Smith said.
“And so I can identify more than just, ‘I get it,’ ” he said. “I lived it.”