It was different circumstances, but one year to the date that Charlotte, N.C., lost their beloved all-star Kemba Walker in free agency to the Boston Celtics, the Queen City watched former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton also head up north, signing a one-year deal with the New England Patriots.
Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, was released by the Panthers in March and had been on the market for 96 days before the Patriots took a chance on him.
While Panthers fans have had some time to process Newton not being in Carolina anymore for the first time 2011, it will be even weirder watching Newton and Walker, both regarded as the face of Charlotte sports, now in Boston.
"It's just crazy," Walker said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday. "It's crazy that both of us came in the same year and spent the same amount of time there and now we're both here in Boston."
Newton made a name for himself as the best running quarterback in NFL history and helped guide the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2015.
"I know the fans here are going to love him," Walker said. "They're going to love him a lot."
The Hornets were never able to surround Walker with enough pieces to bring them to the next level and Walker signed a four-year deal with the Celtics in the summer of 2019.
After Carolina's Super Bowl season where they went 15-1, Newton suffered through injuries and never regained his MVP form, leaving the Panthers to move on and sign quarterback Teddy Bridgewater this offseason.
Both Charlotte teams are rebuilding after losing their respective stars and the image of Walker and Newton both in Boston may never feel just right.