Whitfield says it’s time to leave the Hornets

People Sports

December 8, 2023

Whitfield has championed the Hornets and community for the better part of two decades; now he says he wants to focus on his health and family.

Fred Whitfield
Fred Whitfield photographed by Richard Israel

For more than 17 years, Fred Whitfield has been part of Charlotte’s first pro sports team. He’s served alongside multiple owners and endured major changes (remember the Bobcats?), but now Whitfield says it’s time to focus on other priorities.

In a statement he released on December 6, Whitfield explains why he is stepping down as President & Vice Chairman of Hornets Sports & Entertainment: “… I have had the privilege of representing the Charlotte Hornets as president and vice chairman, and ultimately minority owner. But the time has come for me to step away and focus on my health and my family.

“Over the last 18 months I have successfully battled a serious case of throat cancer. I’ve also been focused on supporting my mother, who has her own health issues. As these priorities have occupied more of my time and energy, I realized that now is the right time to leave my role with the Hornets, who are on a tremendous path to success with the energy and ideas brought by our new owners, Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin. I’m grateful to them for their support during this challenging time, and I also want to thank the prior ownership groups under the leadership of Bob Johnson and Michael Jordan for giving me such a tremendous opportunity.

“I’d also like to thank NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his predecessor, the late David Stern, for their unwavering support of our organization and me personally. During my tenure with the Hornets, we always focused on meeting the needs of all the communities we serve – the NBA, the players, coaches and staff, the fans and the rest of the Charlotte region. I know that focus will continue, and I look forward to being involved in a variety of efforts to improve the Charlotte community while cheering on the Hornets from the stands.”

Whitfield’s departure comes before the end of the season and is immediate, according to Josh Rosen, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Hornets Sports & Entertainment.

Whitfield recently sat down with SouthPark Magazine for this interview about his career and connection to Charlotte. Beyond his deep affection for the Hornets, Whitfield says his greatest fulfillment comes from working with his nonprofit, HoopTee Charities, which provides academic and recreational opportunites for underprivileged children and teens. SP

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