Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball was named the 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year, the league announced Wednesday.
Ball became a front-runner late in the season and is the third player in franchise history to take home the hardware. The standout scorer joins Emeka Okafor (2005) and Larry Johnson (1993) as the only players in franchise history to cap off their inaugural season with Rookie of the Year honors.
He edged out Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards and Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton for the award. The three players earned the most votes from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters last month to be named finalists, according to the NBA.
Ball averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds in 51 games to lead the Hornets into the NBA’s play-in tournament. Despite dealing with a hand injury and missing 21 games he finished second in scoring among all rookies during the regular season.
The son of outspoken critic LaVar Ball was taken third overall by the Hornets in the 2020 NBA Draft. After coming to Charlotte, LaMelo embraced his role with the team and was eventually named a starter early in the season by coach James Borrego.
Ball is now one of six players who make up the group of youngest in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year. He joins LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, and Luka Doncic who all won the award at the age of 19. Another outstanding accomplishment in the NBA career for the youngest Ball brother.