North Carolina's Sports Stars Take the Court for the Fastest-Growing Sport Pickleball

Carolina sports legends will face off in a pickleball exhibition match alongside tennis champions and professional pickleball players. The event coincides with a major pro tournament, offering fans a chance to witness top competition and even play themselves.
Pickleball Court

Pickleball Court

North Carolina's most celebrated athletes are stepping onto the pickleball court for an exhibition match at the North Carolina Pickleball Pro-Am. This exciting event, taking place on April 6th from 2-3 p.m. ET at Cary Tennis Park, will see Carolina Hurricanes legends Rod Brind'Amour, Cam Ward, and Justin Williams join forces with UNC Basketball icon Tyler Hansbrough. The star power doesn't stop there, as tennis and pickleball champions Jack Sock and Genie Bouchard will also be gracing the court alongside top PPA Tour professionals.
This special exhibition, broadcasted live on Amazon Prime Video, promises a thrilling display of athleticism and friendly competition. Carolina Hurricanes Head Coach Rod Brind'Amour perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the event: "Raleigh is a passionate sports community that will be a great host for a professional pickleball event. I'm excited to compete against some legendary North Carolina athletes including some of my former teammates, and to measure our skills against the pros."

Hurricanes Heroes Face Off on the Pickleball Court

Brind'Amour, a highly decorated figure in hockey history, will bring his leadership qualities and competitive spirit to the pickleball court. Having served as the Hurricanes' Head Coach since 2018 and securing the prestigious Jack Adams Award as the NHL's Coach of the Year, Brind'Amour boasts an impressive hockey pedigree. Fans will undoubtedly reminisce about his legendary 20-year playing career, where he captained the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup victory in 2006.
Joining Brind'Amour is Cam Ward, the unforgettable goaltender whose heroics secured him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during the Hurricanes' 2006 championship run. Ward's impressive career saw him become only the fourth rookie goaltender in NHL history to achieve this feat.
Completing the Hurricanes' trio is Justin Williams, a three-time Stanley Cup Champion with both Carolina (2006) and Los Angeles (2012, 2014). Williams holds the remarkable record for most career Game 7 points in NHL history, a testament to his clutch performance in high-pressure situations.

From the Hardwood to the Pickleball Court

Adding another dimension to the competition is UNC Basketball legend Tyler Hansbrough. A household name in North Carolina, Hansbrough's achievements include an NCAA Championship title, NCAA Player of the Year award, and three-time First-Team All-American honors. He successfully transitioned his talent to the NBA for seven seasons before finding a new passion on the pickleball court. Now a broadcaster, Hansbrough frequently competes in high-level divisions of PPA Tour events, showcasing his adaptability and athletic prowess.

Tennis Champions Embrace the Pickleball Challenge

The North Carolina Pickleball Pro-Am also features a unique crossover from the world of tennis. Jack Sock, an Olympic Gold and Bronze medalist in tennis, boasts two Wimbledon Doubles Championship titles, a US Open Doubles Championship, and past ATP Tour Top 10 rankings in both singles and doubles. Adding a new chapter to his impressive athletic career, Sock has become a force to be reckoned with on the PPA Tour.
Joining Sock is Genie Bouchard, a Canadian tennis star who achieved a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world in 2014 after reaching the Wimbledon Final. As the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final and achieve Top 5 status, Bouchard's talent is undeniable. Now, she splits her time between the PPA Tour and the WTA, showcasing her versatility and love for competition.

A Pro Tournament and a Chance for Fans to Play

The North Carolina Pickleball Pro-Am coincides with the Semifinal Saturday of the Fanatics Sportsbook North Carolina Cup, a major event on the Carvana PPA Tour. Held at Cary Tennis Park from April 1st to 7th, this prestigious tournament will feature the world's best pickleball players, including PPA Tour World No. 1s Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters. Fans will have the chance to witness the pinnacle of pickleball competition alongside the star-studded exhibition match.
The event offers a fantastic opportunity for pickleball enthusiasts of all skill levels. Pickleball fans from the area can register to participate in an amateur competition alongside the professionals. This "Play Where the Pros Play" experience allows players to test their skills and enjoy the thrill of competition.
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